News / Economy

Taiwan in Tough Fight to Join Regional Trade Blocs

FILE - Taiwan's Economic Affairs Minister Chang Chia-Juch (2nd L) and Foreign Minister David Lin (R) attend a news conference.
FILE - Taiwan's Economic Affairs Minister Chang Chia-Juch (2nd L) and Foreign Minister David Lin (R) attend a news conference.
Ralph Jennings
Taiwan is mounting a campaign to join two key Asia-Pacific trade blocs. To stay competitive economically, it wants a place in the U.S.- led Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and Asia’s 16-member Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership. However, Taiwan’s old rival, China, is likely to forbid membership in both.
 
Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou has said he will push for membership in the two regional trade blocs to open major markets for local companies. Taiwan wants more trade integration so its exporters can enjoy lower tariffs in other countries, like its peers from South Korea and Southeast Asia. Raymond Wu, managing director with political risk consultancy e-telligence in Taipei, said the president is now marshaling support.
 
“Government would like to make it sort of like a rallying point to get all the partisan differences behind them and try to focus on getting Taiwan to become more regionally integrated economically,” said Wu.
 
Taiwan has signed trade deals with China, New Zealand, Singapore and five tiny diplomatic allies. That hardly compares to Taiwan’s export competitors, some of which have deals throughout Asia, in Europe and with the United States. Beijing normally uses its economic power to stop other countries from signing agreements with Taiwan and from allowing it to join international bodies that require statehood as a precondition.
 
China also insists that other governments avoid formal relations with the government in Taipei. China-Taiwan ties have improved since 2008, but Taiwan has avoided the discussion of political issues. Jeffrey Wilson, politics lecturer at Murdoch University in Australia, said that other countries may be willing to let Taiwan, the world’s 26th largest economy, join a regional bloc, but would not want to risk upsetting China.
 
“The stakes would be considered so high and the benefit to everyone of letting them so low, as it would aggravate China so significantly, it might not be worth an issue,” said Wilson.
 
The Trans-Pacific Partnership would particularly irk China by admitting Taiwan. This group has asked China to join, but Beijing is staying out because it fears too much influence by the United States and its allies. China is pushing the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership as an alternative.
 
Taiwan has taken its campaign to heads of state around the Pacific Rim, using a regional economic forum in October to let the other parties know about its ambition to join the TPP. Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Anna Kao said that Taiwan has been heard. She reported that Taiwan has already made contact with TPP members on many related occasions because Taiwan is an Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation member, as are many parties to the TPP.
 
China allows Taiwan in the 21-member APEC group because the island has agreed not to send heads of state. Beijing also occasionally lets it observe United Nations-backed agencies. However, experts say China’s goodwill is wearing thin because Taiwan will not discuss political issues that could lead the two sides toward Beijing’s goal of eventual reunification.

You May Like

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. More

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

Dropout rate at an all-time high in South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during 3-year civil war More

Tennessee Songbirds Fly Coop Long Before Tornadoes Arrive

Researchers say birds apparently alerted to danger by sounds at frequencies below range of human hearing More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US: Response to Sony Hack Will Be Proportionali
X
Aru Pande
December 19, 2014 1:45 AM
The White House says President Barack Obama considers the cyberattack on Sony Corp. a serious national security matter and that the U.S. will counter with an "appropriate response." VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video US: Response to Sony Hack Will Be Proportional

The White House says President Barack Obama considers the cyberattack on Sony Corp. a serious national security matter and that the U.S. will counter with an "appropriate response." VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.8140
JPY
USD
118.81
GBP
USD
0.6402
CAD
USD
1.1597
INR
USD
63.066

Rates may not be current.