From WTO to CPTPP: What Makes the Consideration of China and Taiwan’s Accessions Different?

Written by Jacques deLise. In 2000-2001, China and Taiwan entered the World Trade Organization (WTO). Their admittance to the central institution of the international economic order was, in effect, a package deal that became possible with the assent of the United States, which had been a last principal obstacle to Beijing’s long-sought membership. Two decades later, China and Taiwan have applied to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for a Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). This arrangement emerged from the larger Trans-Pacific Partnership after the US opted out. The two bids face major challenges, including those born of changes in the international stature and posture of each of Taiwan, China, and the United States.

How Vital is the CPTPP Membership to Taiwan?

Written by Yun-Chieh Wang. On September 22, 2021, six days after the Chinese government submitted its application to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), the Taiwanese government handed in its application to the depository in New Zealand. According to World Trade Organisation (WTO) data, Taiwan ranks as the top 15 goods export and the top 18 goods import economy in 2020. However, Taiwan has only signed a few trade agreements with its trading partners and cannot join critical regional trade agreements such as Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). Therefore, participating in CPTPP is expected to promote Taiwan’s trade ties with the trade partners effectively.

A Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP): A Game of Go? Or Three-dimensional Chess?

Written by Chun-Yi Lee and Michael Reilly. The CPTPP is an ambitious, wide-ranging free trade agreement (FTA) signed between Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, New Zealand, Singapore, and Vietnam in March 2018. The CPTPP was originally named as the Trans-Pacific Partnership and comprised twelve members. However, after the Trump administration withdrew the USA from it in 2017, the remaining eleven countries reorganised and renamed it. After leaving the EU, the UK applied to join in February 2021, followed by China and Taiwan in September. South Korea has been considering joining but has yet to do so. Countries seeking to join the bloc must negotiate tariffs and other market access conditions with each of the eleven original members. 

USA, China, and Taiwan: Post-Endemic Strategies for a New Global Economy

Written by Ian Inkster. Joe Biden’s recent scooping up of the fog of ‘strategic ambiguity,’ the seldom re-specified policy of the USA towards China in the case of an overt attack on Taiwan, was made in haste but has set the tail of the cat alight and its very colour in doubt. In Japan, Biden warned that China was ‘flirting with danger’ and then admitted that the US would defend Taiwan against invasion by China as contra to the Ukraine case. He was then asked directly if the US would defend Taiwan militarily if China invaded, when it has not done so in the invasion of Russia against Ukraine.

What’s Exactly Wrong with Taiwanese Media?

Written by Ti Wei. To solve the Taiwanese media problem, the first step is to recognise that the problem is unique and not like any other case in the world. Moreover, this problem could not be explained by any Western theories. Therefore, we need to carefully clarify and re-examine the nature of the problem and study society and the audiences thoroughly. Then, based on the re-acquainted knowledge, we may draw a new and reflective plan for rebuilding the media system. The only thing for sure is that it is neither commercial nor public in the Western sense. In addition, the latest development of media platformatisation and the new audience generation should be considered. The task is tough, but any endeavour to pay should be worthy when we think of how much hardship Taiwanese media have been through.

Semiconductor Competition: Opportunities for Taiwan

Written by Adhiraaj Anand. The Biden administration has put aside billions of dollars to improve semiconductor manufacturing capabilities in the US, whose global output fell from 37% in 1990 to 12% in 2020. Additionally, the EU Chips Act, proposed in 2022, seeks to make Europe a leader in semiconductor technology and maintain a secure supply of chips by increasing the continent’s market share in the semiconductor industry to 20% by 2030. Japan has similarly unveiled a strategy to promote indigenous semiconductor manufacturing to achieve a 40% global market share in next-generation power semiconductors, which are to be used in emerging technologies such as electric vehicles, by the end of the decade.

A plant out of water: Taiwanese greens in Thailand

Written by Angel Chao (趙于萱), translated by Sam Robbins. In supermarkets in Thailand, you can find Thai hydroponic vegetables labelled as ‘Taiwanese greens.’ Why? Because these plants are grown in Thailand by Taiwanese businesspeople who brought Taiwanese hydroponic technology to Thailand, using Taiwanese equipment to grow crops in Thailand.

Falling Through the Cracks of Care: Southeast Asian Migrant Workers Navigating Through Healthcare in Taiwan

Written by Shao-Yun Chang (張韶韻) and Hang-Tang Chen (陳翰堂). Since their labour was first viewed as a supplement to the domestic labour market, Southeast Asian migrants have become indispensable to the manufacturing, agricultural, fishing, and care industries over the last three decades. While the initial foreign population was primarily Thai and Filipino workers, Vietnamese and Indonesian workers are now taking over factory jobs, farm work, and caring for seniors and the disabled. 

The Best-Laid Plans of Rice and Men (And Ducks): Organic Farming in Yuanli Township

Written by Li Ching Chen, Translated by Sam Robbins. Hae works on a rice-duck farming cooperative in Yuanli. He wanted to take advantage of the fact that ducks eat rice pests and raise the ducks in the rice paddies. Although the idea was good in theory, there were many difficulties in practice. For example, he told me many of the dogs from the township started hunting the ducks. As ducks slowly waddled through the rice paddies, the dogs would start salivating.

The Homecoming of Indigenous Tea Farmers

Written by Szu-yu Lai, translated by Sam Robbins. When people in Taiwan think of indigenous communities, they think of millet, traditional clothing, and other stereotypical markers. However, from the story of Atayal tea farmers in Li Mountain, we can see that such static imaginings don’t bind indigenous peoples. Admitting to Taiwan’s rapidly changing culture and economy, cultivating tea became a way for Atayal people to reflect on their own culture and relationship with mainstream society. Although tea is not a part of the Atayal people’s traditional culture, it has slowly become a crucial part of how Atayal tribes market themselves through legal and economic changes. 

Hard Cash or Soft Values? Assessing the ‘Lithuanian Model’ of Eastern European Relations with China and Taiwan

Written by Dominika Remžová. Over the last year and a half, Lithuania has been at the forefront of the EU’s improving relations with Taiwan and worsening relations with China. This culminated with Lithuania leaving the 17+1 framework of cooperation between China and 17 (now 16) eastern European countries on the one hand and the opening of the Taiwanese Representative Office in Vilnius on the other. The two events occurred in May and November 2021, respectively, with the latter being particularly controversial, as China argued that the denomination ‘Taiwanese’ breached the EU’s One China policy, which led to the imposition of Chinese economic sanctions on Lithuanian products. However, as Lithuania’s economic relations with China are negligible, at least when compared to western European countries, Beijing made the unprecedented move of targeting EU-wide supply chains that contain Lithuanian products. This effectively escalated the bilateral disagreement to the EU level, with the bloc filing a WTO case against China.

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