Taiwan - The Risk of Marginalisation: Economic Situation and Trade Relations with the EU

01-10-2013

Taiwan, a member of the exclusive group of advanced Asian economies, increasingly faces the challenges typical of many post-industrial societies: growing inequality, an ageing population and competitive pressures from emerging economies. The island's diplomatic status created additional challenges for Taiwan’s export-oriented economy. The explosion of preferential trade agreements (PTAs) as a result of the deadlock of the Doha Round of negotiations at the World Trade Organisation has left Taiwan virtually excluded from the PTA process. To prevent its trade partners from turning elsewhere, Taipei pursues an active and 'flexible' commercial diplomacy. The means participating in plurilateral initiatives (such as the Trade in Services Agreement within the World Trade Organisation), normalising relations with the People's Republic of China and working on bilateral agreements. Taipei has recently concluded economic cooperation agreements with two countries with which the island does not have diplomatic relations: New Zealand and Singapore. These accords have offered Taiwan hope that it may also eventually join more ambitious trade agreements, such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership. While this sort of adherence is possible under the WTO framework Taipei will also have to make concessions and earn the acceptance of the other parties.

Taiwan, a member of the exclusive group of advanced Asian economies, increasingly faces the challenges typical of many post-industrial societies: growing inequality, an ageing population and competitive pressures from emerging economies. The island's diplomatic status created additional challenges for Taiwan’s export-oriented economy. The explosion of preferential trade agreements (PTAs) as a result of the deadlock of the Doha Round of negotiations at the World Trade Organisation has left Taiwan virtually excluded from the PTA process. To prevent its trade partners from turning elsewhere, Taipei pursues an active and 'flexible' commercial diplomacy. The means participating in plurilateral initiatives (such as the Trade in Services Agreement within the World Trade Organisation), normalising relations with the People's Republic of China and working on bilateral agreements. Taipei has recently concluded economic cooperation agreements with two countries with which the island does not have diplomatic relations: New Zealand and Singapore. These accords have offered Taiwan hope that it may also eventually join more ambitious trade agreements, such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership. While this sort of adherence is possible under the WTO framework Taipei will also have to make concessions and earn the acceptance of the other parties.