According to the Ministry of Economic Affairs, this would cause exports to decrease anywhere from NT$68 billion (US$2.3 billion) to NT$105 billion causing a real decline in GDP of NT$130 billion.
Asia-Pacific countries are all actively taking part in negotiations for the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) or the Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership Agreement, otherwise known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Sixteen countries are taking part in negotiations for the RCEP, accounting for 27.7 percent of world trade volume and 28.4 percent of gross world product (GWP). Twelve countries taking part in negotiations for the TPP, accounting for 25.3 percent of world trade volume and 37.8 percent of GWP.
If negotiations on these two agreements are completed, the entire pattern of trade strategy in the Asia-Pacific will change. However, in the short-term, Taiwan will have no chance to participate in these two agreements.
China still views things in political terms and does not consider Taiwan’s economic pressures. China hopes that Taiwan can first of all complete the follow-up negotiations on the ECFA and then negotiate an appropriate status and conditions with China so the two nations can jointly take part in the RCEP and the TPP. However, such a mindset causes cross-strait economic integration to fall into a stalemate, because there are concerns that if the economy becomes too reliant on China, political and economic security, and social stability will be threatened.
If Taiwan could participate in the regional economic integration system, there would most likely be a greater consensus and more confidence when it comes to greater cross-strait trade liberalization.
At the end of one of the symposia, the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences’ Institute of Taiwan Studies director Yu Keli (余克禮) said that a major prerequisite for improved cross-strait economic cooperation is an improvement in political relations and that because they are yet to be normalized, there are many limitations on economic cooperation. Yu also said that differences between the pan-blue and pan-green political parties means that it will be very difficult for advancements to be made with cross-strait political relations.
Yu’s remarks accurately described the current problems with cross-strait economic cooperation, problems that will need to be solved via cooperation between the Taiwanese and Chinese governments.
Tung Chen-yuan is a professor in the Graduate Institute of Development Studies at National Chengchi University.
Translated by Drew Cameron