21. The number of Taiwanese students in
Britain has grown impressively in the last decade. The UK now
has approximately 24 per cent of the Taiwanese overseas study
market, compared to 1 per cent in 1989. During 1999, some 6,550
students visas were issued in Taipei and the total number of Taiwanese
students in the UK during the year is estimated at between 10,000
and 11,000. The BTCO's educational and Cultural Section holds
eight education exhibitions a year, produces a range of publications
and offers daily counselling. In addition to education promotion,
it operates in the field of arts, science and technology and English
22. The British Tourist Authority closed
down its Taipei operation in February 1999 and the British Council
now operates a limited tourist information service on its behalf.
Due to the Asian financial crisis, tourist numbers fell 6 per
cent to 28,000 last year, but the total number of Taiwanese visitors
grew by 5 per cent to 43,000.
23. Parliamentary exchanges are active.
Since 1993, Taiwan has hosted oveer 100 visits by British MPs.
The Foreign Affairs Committee and the Employment Committee both
visited in 1993, and the Trade and Industry Committee has visited
twice, although there have been no Select Committee visits in
recent years. Taiwan's Legislative Yuan has an association promoting
links with parliaments in Europe and numerous MPs have visited
the UK. The BTCO's lobbying and networking activities are directed
at key MPs of all parties as well as at the authorities.
24. We seek to encourage non-official links
in a wide range of areas, cultural, scientific and so on where
these can be of mutual benefit.
25. Because of our formal position on the
status of Taiwan we do not support Taiwan's membership of international
bodies whose membership is limited to states. We do support and
encourage Taiwan's membership of appropriate international economic
fora, including the WTO. We look forward to Taiwan joining the
WTO, under the right terms, in its capacity as the Customs Territory
of Taiwan, Kinmen, Matsu and Penghu.