Written by John F. Copper. The recent economic news emanating from Taiwan is the impressive growth in its gross domestic product (GDP)—one of the basic indicators of economic vitality. This is certainly good to hear. After experiencing negative growth throughout most of 2020, conditions changed in the last quarter of the year. As a result, Taiwan even bested China’s GDP growth. Furthermore, the upward trend accelerated this year, with GDP expansion the highest in two decades. If this growth is sustained, 2021 will end with a welcomed 5 per cent or better rise.
Written by Chun-Chien Kuo. By adding fire to the existing US-China Trade War, Covid-19 has accelerated the current economic adjustment pace, along with the need for supply chain reallocation in industries. Thus, industries and firms in Taiwan have responded to adjust their production of diverse parts and components. They have also attempted to establish their own sufficient domestic supply chains. New trends in supply chain reallocation have also emerged, such as localised supply chains, shorten supply chains and digitalisation under the Covid-19 threat.
Written by Min-hua Chiang. With 2.98% of growth rate in 2020, Taiwan’s economy has outperformed many countries in the world. The moderate economic expansion was attributed to the surging external demand for information and communications technology (ICT) goods and the growing investment repatriation. The domestic consumption remained resilient thanks to the growth in domestic tourism and economic stimulus measures. After all, Taiwan’s success in containing the COVID-19 underpinned the whole economy well amid the ongoing global pandemic crisis.
Written by Ian Inkster. As Joseph Cummings has summarised recently for Redaction Politics, ‘experts believe that Mr Biden’s policy will fall short of provocation of mainland China and Mr Trump’s open empowerment of Taiwanese militarisation,’ and there is little reason yet to discount that view. The fact that the US has approved recent arms purchase deals with Taiwan may mean no real change in the long history of less-than-best military techniques being sold off to Taiwan as part of the old cold-war alliance.
Written by Ko Lien. The demand for pig and pork products increased, but businessmen had begun to import pigs from across the strait since supplies have dwindled. As refrigeration technology was still in its infancy at this point, live pigs were imported. However, many overdue would die on the journey to disease or ship wreckage. In response to this, Taiwan’s first-ever insurance company was founded for protecting against pig loss.
Written by Christine Penninga-Lin. After a heated election campaign and long vote counting, Joe Biden is going to swear in as the 46th President of the United States. The interest for the 2020 US election is shared among the Taiwanese, and many found themselves preferring Trump over Biden for his administration’s Taiwan policy in the past four-year. An almost unimaginable development had these people been asked in 2016. After four years of Trump’s presidency, the US-Taiwan relation already looks significantly different than that before 2016. And so are the Sino-American relations.
Written by Corey Lee Bell. The annual Yushan Forum was inaugurated in 2017, yet has quickly come to assume the mantle of one of Taiwan’s leading non-governmental platforms for international dialogue. Its 2020 incarnation was no different, and featured keynote speeches from influential political figures including President Tsai Ing-Wen, Australia’s former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, and Sweden’s former Prime Minister Carl Bildt. While the impact of the COVID19 pandemic meant that this year’s forum was relatively low key, its impressive register of foreign dignitaries, and the profound security, economic and health crises that formed its backdrop, arguably made it the most significant to date.
Written by John F. Copper. Had the economic numbers not been in their favour, would they have lost the election? Hardly. The fact the U.S. supported President Tsai and her party was an overwhelming advantage, as was China alienating Taiwan’s voters with its harsh statements and actions, which were further exacerbated with anti-China protests in Hong Kong. Both were critical factors. Finally, the KMT was very divided with its top leaders fighting among themselves.
Written by Dr. Alan H. Yang and Tung Cheng-Chia. Great power competition between the United States and China has intensified under the backdrop of the Covid-19 pandemic. Whether in the World Health Organization or the United Nations, this intensification is compelling states to reorient their political alignment. Taiwan needs to reflect on and strategically reposition itself in this geopolitical tug-of-war. A top priority for the island-nation is to strengthen its links and influence in Asia.
Written by Tse-Kang Leng. Taiwan is now facing increasing pressure to adjust its cross-strait economic policies. In her second inaugural address on May 20 of this year, Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen re-emphasised the importance of Taiwan’s strength in the semiconductor and ICT industries, and she also urged the country to secure a central role in global supply chains. In order to cope with current global uncertainties, more substantial state intervention to consolidate economic security will become the new normal.
Written by Michael Reilly. Not since the end of the 2nd World War has the international trading environment been shrouded in so much uncertainty. Four years ago, the future looked clear. In October 2015, the USA and eleven other countries agreed on what would have been the world’s largest free trade agreement, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), covering 40% of the global economy. The USA and the EU were also talking about a similar agreement, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). Then came the Brexit referendum and Donald Trump’s election as president of the USA.
Written by Chun-yi Lee. Does Brexit impact Taiwan? The answer is, yes. Rather than repeat the tired cliché of ‘this is a globalised world’, I will instead ask our readers to think deeper about the interconnectivities of supply chains, the mobility of human talent in the innovation and high education sectors, and cross-regional trading agreements such as the TPP and CPTPP. If one considers all these different elements, Brexit certainly impacts on Taiwan and East Asia as a whole.