Taiwan’s decision to be designated as a developed economy in the WTO shows its commitment to trade liberalization and the open market and would be beneficial in the long term, the nation’s top trade negotiator said yesterday.
Taiwan has agreed to change its WTO status from a “developing” member to a “developed” member, said Minister Without Portfolio John Deng (鄧振中), head of the Office of Trade Negotiations.
Taiwan became a member of the WTO in 2002 under the name “Separate Customs Territory of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu (Chinese Taipei)” and had been participating until recently as a developing member.
Its recent change of status was revealed by Deputy US Trade Representative Dennis Shea, who is also the US ambassador to the WTO, at a seminar in Washington on Friday.
The WTO adopts a “principle of self-selection,” meaning that WTO member governments are generally grouped as “developed members” or “developing members” according to their level of development, and it is up to each member to decide in which group it fits.
The WTO agreements contain provisions that give developing member countries special rights and more favorable treatment.
These provisions include, for example, more time to implement agreements and commitments, and measures to increase trade opportunities, according to the WTO Web site.
Taiwan first joined the WTO as a developing economy, but over the years has made significant strides to engaging in liberalization initiatives and becoming more open to international trade and integration with the global economy, Deng said.
In view of the huge gaps among the various developing countries in the WTO, many developed countries think it would be unreasonable for all developing countries to be given the same preferential treatment, he said.
The government decided it would benefit Taiwan to engage in WTO negotiations as a developed nation, so that other countries would have a clearer picture of its intentions to move toward trade liberalization and better connect with the global market, Deng said.
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