Sat, Aug 10, 2013 - Page 3 News List

Trade agreement ‘diplomatic coup for Taipei: CSIS paper

BUILDING BLOCK:The Taiwan-New Zealand negotiations provide a model for economic cooperation with other countries, the paper said

By William Lowther  /  Staff reporter in WASHINGTON

Taiwan’s trade agreement with New Zealand — signed last month — “represents a diplomatic coup for Taipei,” says a paper by the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).

“The pact paves the way for Taiwan to close similar bilateral trade deals and bolsters its case for participation in regional trade frameworks,” the paper says.

Prepared by CSIS researchers Nicole White, Jieming Chu and Kaelyn Lowmaster, the paper is titled “ANZTEC and Taiwan’s Quest for Economic Integration.”

According to the paper, the ANZTEC (Agreement between New Zealand and the Separate Customs Territory of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu on Economic Cooperation) favors exports from New Zealand over those from Taiwan.

Nevertheless, Taiwan’s real economic gain is potentially greater than the lower food prices it secures, it says.

“The success of the Taiwan-New Zealand negotiations provides other interested nations with a model for economic cooperation with Taipei,” the report says.

The report stresses that no country — including New Zealand — would be willing to jeopardize its relationship with a major economy like China by signing a trade agreement with Taiwan “unless the former does not object.”

ANZTEC is an important first step, both toward signing similar bilateral agreements with even larger economies and toward dissolving barriers to Taiwanese membership in broader regional trade agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, the paper says, adding that negotiations have concluded with Singapore, and are underway with Indonesia and India.

“ANZTEC’s conclusion, bolstered by Beijing’s tacit approval, may usher in a series of planned agreements by a diplomatically savvy Taipei to establish itself as an attractive trading partner in the region,” the paper says.

Meanwhile, the Washington Times has printed an article by senior adviser for the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the US Eric Chiang (長煌組) saying that Taiwan wants the New Zealand deal to “reinvigorate commerce” with the US.

“This groundbreaking agreement with New Zealand is a signal, particularly to Washington, that Taiwan is committed to trade liberalization and is actively seeking similar deals with other trading partners,” the article said.

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