Living, studying and working in Italy on three occasions has been the best part of my life, but, as the English proverb says “All good things must come to an end”. After having served my country as Representative in Italy of the Government of the Republic of China (Taiwan) for over four years, I will conclude my mandate and will definitively leave Italy on 1st January to return home.
I am leaving Italy with great emotion, because I am very attached and fond of this country, but also with great joy: on this occasion, I would like to express my satisfaction with the progress of relations between our two countries, which share the same democratic values , freedom and respect for human rights and the rule of law.
These are relations which I sincerely hope can improve further, following the path undertaken in recent years and proceeding at the same pace as the other member countries of the European Union. Our bilateral relations are experiencing a particularly happy moment, witnessed by the very recent Italian technological-commercial and investment mission to Taiwan. Furthermore, with great gratification, last September I had the pleasure of accompanying a large delegation from the Taiwan semiconductor supply chain made up of top-level producers, scientists and academics, who came to Italy for a series of meetings with both companies and centers research institutes and leading Italian academics in the semiconductor sector. Finally, last year, ITASEA (Italy Taiwan Scientific Exchange Association) was founded, an association for exchanges in the scientific, technological and industrial fields between Italy and Taiwan.
My country is a world leader in the semiconductor, energy efficiency and digital transition, mechatronics and aerospace sectors. But Italy too has great industrial and innovative capacities in these fields which, perhaps, were not known enough in Taiwan. In the bilateral contacts between Taiwanese and Italian operators, a strong mutual interest in industrial collaboration has emerged. It is an opportunity that the new Italian government can now seize. A collaboration with Taiwan in these advanced technological and industrial sectors, in which there is open international competition, even between EU countries, would strengthen Italy's already important position.
I am convinced that the times and circumstances are right for us to continue on this path. My mission to Rome is coming to an end, after more than four years in which I have seen bilateral relations develop positively, driven by the "invisible hand" of the economic-industrial logic. During my mandate, which began in August 2018, relations with Italy have grown year after year, also thanks to the existence of strong shared values. In four years there has been more than 1 billion in investments between Taiwan and Italy. In the field of trade, Taiwan and Italy recorded a total of around 5.5 billion euros in exchanges in 2021, with a balance of around 400 million in favor of Italy. Once again this year Italy remains Taiwan's third trade partner in the EU after Germany and the Netherlands.
As proof of the strong bond that unites Taiwan and Italy, I mention the opening of direct flights between Milan and Taipei starting from October 2022, operated twice a week by the Taiwanese company Eva Air, as well as the reopening of direct flights between Rome and Taipei starting next March 2023, operated by the other Taiwanese company China Airlines.
Furthermore, there have been numerous proofs of great solidarity with my country on the part of Italy, for which I can only be grateful, as well as the position taken at the international level together with other friendly and allied countries, to accuse the threats to stability and peace of the Indo-Pacific region. The numerous declarations of the ministers of the G7 and NATO were also valuable and useful, as were the many resolutions of the European Parliament on these important issues and, let me tell you, the agenda approved in the plenary session of the Chamber of Deputies was particularly appreciated. , and two resolutions in the Foreign Affairs Commission voted and approved unanimously. All of these acts expressed outrage at China's attempts to undermine regional security and stressed the importance of maintaining peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait.
Furthermore, I would like to recall the recent establishment of the new Italy-Taiwan Interparliamentary Friendship Group, reconstituted on the occasion of the start of the new Legislature, as proof of the continuous and constant friendship towards Taiwan on the part of many Italian deputies and senators from all political parties.
Italy is famous and appreciated all over the world for its work, its excellence, its lifestyle and its know-how. All fundamental bases from which to start to land in any market, thanks also to the authoritative protagonist of the new Italian government. I have great faith, as well as great hope, in Italy's greater attention towards Taiwan, hoping with this an improvement in relations between our two countries, largely adapting them to those of other European countries, in order to facilitate also the attraction of further Taiwanese investments in Italy, which I hope will come true at the right time.
Italy is a country that I love deeply and even if my mission has come to an end, I will always carry it with me, to Taiwan or elsewhere, because it now occupies an important part of my heart. Finally, I take this opportunity to wish all Italians a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
env. Andrea Sing-Ying LEE