Fri, Apr 10, 2009 - Page 12 News List

Participation on world stage up to PRC: economists

STAFF WRITER, WITH CNA

The issue of whether Taiwan will be able to play a role in the international economic arena remains in the hands of China, despite Taipei having foreign reserves that far exceed those of many major economies, two noted US economists said yesterday.

“I’ve always thought that Beijing is taking a very tough line on Taiwan’s participation in international organizations, and I don’t see we have much leverage to change that,” said Nicholas Lardy, a senior fellow at the US non-­governmental Peterson Institute for International Economics.

He made the remarks in response to a question at a video conference held by the Office of Trade Negotiations of Taiwan’s Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) on the topic “the Global, Regional and Local Significance of the Outcome of the G20 Summit in London.”

“I don’t see that external actors — the United States or anybody else — have any leverage to change that,” Lardy said. “Until the Chinese on the mainland have a change of view, it seems unlikely to happen.”

Michael Mussa, a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute and a former economic counselor and director of the Department of Research at the IMF, expressed a similar view.

While Taiwan’s GDP might be bigger than that of the bottom two or three economies that participated in the G20 summit, the possibility of it playing a role in the summit or in similar international economic meetings is very slim as a result of China’s obstruction, Mussa said.

He said that from Taiwan’s perspective, its accession to the WTO and APEC forum under the designation Chinese Taipei was arguably its most important achievement in this area.

However, Mussa said that he doubted Taiwan would be able to go further than that, and certainly not to the G20 summit.

“That is not one that the Beijing government will go along with at all,” he said.

The economist added that while he would not rule out that at some point Taiwan would be able to join the World Bank or the IMF if relations between Taipei and Beijing continue to improve, fundamentally everything depended on the attitude of the Beijing government.

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