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.
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.
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.
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.