Sun, Sep 25, 2005 - Page 8 News List

Taiwanese have sold themselves, country out

By Huang Tien-lin 黃天麟

In his speech to the UN summit on Sept. 15, Chinese President Hu Jintao (胡錦濤) said that China is willing to offer tax-free trade, debt forgiveness and preferential loan rates to developing countries, especially "those heavily indebted poor countries and least developed ones." But this policy does not apply to Taiwan's diplomatic allies.

China has indeed prospered. Last year alone its trade surplus with the US reached US$162 billion. By the end of last month, its foreign exchange reserves reached US$711 billion, the second highest in the world. If you add Hong Kong's foreign exchange reserves of US$120.8 billion, it actually tops the foreign reserves list.

The US, with its great economic strength, once reached out a helping hand to poor countries after World War II. Taiwan was a recipient of US aid. So China's offer was something it should do and was not surprising.

Oddly, however, Beijing's offer is not open to Taiwan's diplomatic allies, showing that its purpose was completely different from the goodwill shown by the US. This is another attempt to contain Taiwan's diplomatic efforts. In other words, it is just another attack on Taiwan. The recipients of Chinese aid should really thank Taiwan, without whom there would be no aid forthcoming from Beijing.

In addition, recipients of China's aid should understand that the so-called aid comes essentially from Taiwan. After all, most of China's foreign exchange reserves and its trade surplus were acquired through help from Taiwan. Read the following statistics if you do not believe it.

According to a report by Ernest Preeg, a senior fellow in the Trade and Productivity Manufacturers Alliance, recently prepared for the congressional US-China Economic and Security Review Commission, "Taiwan is the largest foreign investor in China, accounting for up to half of total foreign direct investment [FDI]."

Since China's FDI reached US$562.1 billion by the end of last year, Taiwan's investment over there was as much as US$281.05 billion.

Similarly, the IEEE Spectrum -- a magazine published by the US Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers -- recently pointed out in the article, "China's Tech Revolution": "Ironically, China's ascendance in semiconductors is almost entirely attributable to assistance from Taiwanese technologists."

On Sept. 18, the media reported that Taiwan's First International Computer Co had closed its last local assembly line, which was also the last line for the nation's notebook computer industry, thus completely relocating to China.

This sector has been one of the nation's most important electronic sectors over the past decade. In 2001, its output value ratio was 89 percent domestically and 4 percent in China. By last year, its output value ratio was 16 percent domestically and 82 percent in China. It is this sort of thing that has allowed China to supplant Taiwan as the kingdom of laptop computer manufacturing.

The total output value of Chinese information technology (IT) hardware is US$60.5 billion, which is the world's second highest and accounts for a large portion of China's exports. But 79 percent of it is contributed by Taiwanese businesses, showing that much of China's trade surplus is created by Taiwanese businesspeople.

In other words, China's economic achievement and the foreign aid it is able to offer are a result of Taiwanese "support."

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