Italy–Taiwan relations

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Italy-Taiwan relations
Map indicating locations of Italy and Taiwan


Diplomatic mission
Italian Economic, Trade and Cultural Promotion OfficeTaipei Representative Office in Italy

Italy–Taiwan relations refers to bilateral relations between Italy and Taiwan. Relations have been conducted on an unofficial basis since Italy severed diplomatic relations with Taiwan on 6 November 1970 and established relations with the People's Republic of China.[1]

Trade links

Despite the absence of diplomatic relations, trade links between Italy and Taiwan accounted for US$4.13 billion in 2014, with Italy being Taiwan's fifth largest trading partner in Europe.[2] Approximately 40 Taiwanese companies had investments in Italy worth US$322 million in 2011.[3] In 2015, the Chamber of Deputies, the lower house of the Italian Parliament, passed a bill on avoiding double taxation with Taiwan.[4] An agreement to that effect was completed in 2016.[2]

Representative offices

Taipei Representative Office in Italy

Taiwan is represented by the "Taipei Representative Office in Italy" in Rome.[5] This also has responsibility for San Marino, Malta, Albania and Macedonia.[6] This was established in 1990 as the Associazione Economica e Culturale di Taipei, before adopting its present name in 1996.[7]

Another body, based in Milan, known as Centro Commerciale Per L'Estremo Oriente, had previously been established as a trade office in the early 1970s.[8] This is now known as the "Taiwan Trade Center", operated by the Taiwan External Trade Development Council.[9]

Similarly, Italy is represented by the Italian Economic, Trade and Cultural Promotion Office.[10] It was established in its present form in 1995.[11] It was originally established in 1989 as the "Italian Trade and Economic Center".[12] Arrangements for the opening of the office were made through San Shin Trading Ltd., the local agent for Fiat cars in Taiwan.[13]

In 1992, the Office was renamed the "Italian Trade Promotion Office".[14] In that year, it also began issuing visas.[15] Previously, visa applications were forwarded to the Italian Consulate General in Hong Kong.[16] In contrast to other countries, during the SARS crisis in 2003, Italy did not impose travel restrictions or quarantines on Taiwan tourists, with the Italian Economic, Trade and Cultural Promotion Office continuing to issue visas as normal.[17]


During World War II, both sides were in the opposing forces, while Taiwan, then under Japanese domain, and Fascist Italy were part of the Axis powers.

Until 1970, Taiwan, as the Republic of China, was represented by an embassy in Rome and a consulate-general in Milan.[18] This was separate from the Embassy of the Republic of China to the Holy See, which, while located in Italian territory, remains accredited to the Vatican City.[19] This led to confusion in 1989 following the Tiananmen Square protests in Beijing, when Italians protested outside the embassy, believing it to be that of the People's Republic of China.[20]

In 2005, the then President, Chen Shui-bian, was allowed to enter Italy to attend the funeral of Pope John Paul II, travelling on a China Airlines charter flight.[21]

China Airlines began flights between Taipei and Rome in 1995, which became a codeshare service with Alitalia in 2003.[22]

In 2014, Taiwan decided not to participate in Expo 2015 in Milan after the Italian government proposed that it be represented as a corporate entity rather than as a country.[23]

In 2020 Taiwan donated equipment and supplies to Italy as part of its medical diplomacy in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Equipment donated included 15 respirators donated to who hospitals in the hard hit Lombardy region in April 2020.[24]


Taiwan representatives to Italy


  1. ^ Major events in China-Italy relations Archived 2006-12-28 at the Wayback Machine, Xinhua News, May 7, 2004
  2. ^ a b Taiwan, Italy sign agreement to avoid double taxation and tax evasion, according to MOFA, The China Post, February 17, 2016
  3. ^ Taiwan, Italy resume trade talks after 40-year hiatus, Taiwan Today, May 5, 2011
  4. ^ Italy passes bill on double taxation avoidance in ROC, The China Post, April 17, 2015
  5. ^ Il Sindaco Ignazio Marino incontra Stanley Kao, Rappresentante di Taiwan in Italia, Roma Capitale, 6 March 2014
  6. ^ Europe Area, Bureau of Consular Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Republic of China)
  7. ^ "Chi Siamo: Ufficio di Rappresentanza di Taipei in Italia". Archived from the original on 2016-03-12. Retrieved 2016-04-18.
  8. ^ Taiwan Trade Monthly of the Republic of China, Volume 10, Epoch Publicity Agency, 1972, page 45
  9. ^ Taiwan Trade Center Milano, Taiwan External Trade Development Council
  10. ^ IETCPO - Italy in Taipei
  11. ^ Italy to send representative, Taipei Times, February 16, 2003
  12. ^ A Pretence of Privatisation: Taiwan's External Relations, Françoise Mengin, in Privatising the State, Béatrice Hibou, C. Hurst & Co. Publishers, 2004, pages 164
  13. ^ Italy Plans Taipei Trade Office Archived 2016-06-11 at the Wayback Machine, Free China Journal, May 29, 1989
  14. ^ Long history of people-to-people contact Archived 2016-06-10 at the Wayback Machine, Taiwan Today, October 23, 1992
  15. ^ Given a Unique Model of Bilateral Relations, Can Taiwan Be an Actor on the World Stage?, Françoise Mengin in Contemporary China and the Changing International Community in Bih-jaw Lin, University of South Carolina Press, 1994, page 165
  16. ^ Daily Report: People's Republic of China, Issues 242-252, Foreign Broadcast Information Service National Technical Information Service, 1992, page 54
  17. ^ 33 countries impose curbs on travel by Taiwan visitors, The China Post, June 3, 2003
  18. ^ ROC severs relations with Italy Archived 2016-05-30 at the Wayback Machine, Taiwan Info, 8 November 1970
  19. ^ New ROC (Taiwan) Ambassador Lee presents his Credentials to Pope Francis Embassy of the Republic of China to the Holy See
  20. ^ Taiwan's Expanding Role in the International Arena: Entering the United Nations, Maysing H. Yang, Routledge, 3 Jun 2015, page 189
  21. ^ Italy allows Chen entry as president, Taipei Times, April 8, 2005
  22. ^ China Airlines And Alitalia Announce Code-Share Cooperation Archived 2012-05-05 at the Wayback Machine, China Airlines, October 27, 2003
  23. ^ Taiwan shuns Milan expo after sovereignty squabble, Taipei Times, November 26, 2014
  24. ^ Yu-li, Lin; Ya-shih, Huang; Hsu, Elizabeth. "Taiwanese donations reach Slovenia, Italy in COVID-19 fight". Focus Taiwan. Retrieved 22 April 2020.