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India negotiating investment protection treaty with Taiwan

Ashok Tuteja | Taipei |

Even As it sticks to the one-China policy, India is said to be negotiating a bilateral investment protection treaty (BIPT) with Taiwan that is expected to boost trade and commercial links between the two countries.

Talking to a group of foreign journalists here last week, senior Taiwanese officials said the two sides have already held preliminary discussions on the issue. ‘’Very intense negotiations are on between the two sides…we hope it will fructify soon,’’ they added.

The officials, who did not wish to be identified, said a BIPT would lead to greater encouragement to private sectors in both countries to invest in business ventures without fear. “Both Indian and Taiwanese businessmen can share their experiences and promote the two-way trade substantially,’’ they added. In fact, Taiwan was keen to have a free trade agreement (FTA) and a double taxation avoidance treaty too with India.

This comes amid reports that bilateral trade between India and Taiwan could touch $3 billion this year as a result of the growing cooperation in the information, communication and technology sector. India is reported to be presently Taiwan’s 25th largest trading partner.

In response to a question, the officials said Taiwan’s policy to engage with India was not in any way influenced by New Delhi’s one-China policy and pitched for more trade and cultural exchanges between the two countries.

India currently has no formal diplomatic ties with Taiwan. The de-facto Indian mission in Taipei is the India-Taipei Association. Similarly, Taiwan maintains the Taipei Economic and Cultural Center in New Delhi.

Taiwan is a sensitive issue for China which claims the island as its territory. Beijing opposes any official contact between Taiwan and other countries. It has lodged protests whenever an official Taiwanese delegation has visited India, reminding New Delhi on its ‘one-China’ policy.

The Taiwanese officials pointed out that Taiwan had relations with nearly 100 countries, regardless of China’s claims over their country. “We have full diplomatic ties with some 20 countries here,” they added. Similarly, trade with various countries was also on an increase. Taiwan has signed double taxation avoidance treaties with 14 EU members, the officials added.