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

    US Leaders Who Served in Vietnam War Look Back and Ahead

    In New York Times opinion piece, Secretary of State John Kerry, Senator John McCain and former Senator Bob Kerrey say as US strengthens relations with Vietnam, it is important to remember lessons learned from war

    Trans-Adriatic Pipeline to Boost European Energy Security

    $4.5 billion-pipeline will become operational in 2020 and will deliver gas from Azerbaijan’s Shah Deniz II field to southern Italy

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Annual festival showcases the region's harvested agriculture, fine wines and offers opportunities to experience the gentle breeze in a hot air balloon flight

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora

    World Currencies

    EUR
    USD
    0.8954
    JPY
    USD
    109.74
    GBP
    USD
    0.6851
    CAD
    USD
    1.3148
    INR
    USD
    67.673

    Rates may not be current.