Taiwan will find its own way, despite not being a part of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), Minister of Economic Affairs Wang Mei-hua (王美花) said yesterday.
Fifteen Asia-Pacific nations — the 10 ASEAN members, as well as Australia, China, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea — signed the trade deal on Sunday. The members together account for about one-third of the world’s GDP.
Responding to media reports that Taiwan would be left “out in the cold” or “marginalized economically” after the signing of the RCEP, Wang said the effects of the deal would not be “overwhelming” or “immediate.”
“After going through the details it seems that the level of trade liberalization with the RCEP is relatively low,” Wang said. “We do not think it will have a large impact on Taiwanese businesses in the short term.”
“However, of course, we will communicate as soon as possible with business leaders in affected industries to figure out how to improve our competitiveness,” she said.
The local industries that are most likely to be affected are steel, petrochemicals, machinery and textiles, Wang said.
Although subsidies are not being considered, the ministry is open to “helping Taiwanese businesses with research and development,” she said.
The impact of the RCEP is lessened by the fact that many of the signatory nations already have free-trade agreements (FTAs) in place, and many “sensitive items” are not included in the list of goods affected by the deal, Wang said.
“Most of the ASEAN countries already have FTAs with Japan, South Korea and China, and the RCEP does not go far beyond those FTAs in terms of cutting tariffs,” she said. “The bigger deal is, with the RCEP, China and Japan now effectively have an FTA, as do South Korea and Japan.”
Wang said that some items “sensitive to Taiwan,” such as machine tools and upstream materials for nylon fabric, were not liberalized.
“Some of the items we find sensitive are also sensitive to China,” Wang added.
She said that it would have been politically insupportable for Taiwan to try and gain entry into the Beijing-driven RCEP.
“If we had pursued our inclusion in [the RCEP], we would have required the consent of all the countries, including China,” Wang said. “As a condition, China would have certainly demanded that Taiwan agree to the ‘1992 consensus.’ Is this something our people can live with?”
Citing the strength of Taiwanese manufacturers, Wang said Taiwan would strive to participate in other trade deals, including the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership.
“We are still protected by the Informational Technology Agreement under the WTO, and this ensures that more than half of our exports are tariff-free,” she said.
“When one path is blocked off, we will find another way through,” Wang added.
The “1992 consensus” — a term former Mainland Affairs Council chairman Su Chi (蘇起) in 2006 admitted making up in 2000 — refers to a tacit understanding between the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and the Chinese Communist Party that both sides acknowledge there is “one China,” with each side having its own interpretation of what “China” means.
Tesla Inc temporarily halted some production at its auto assembly plant in California because of problems with its supply chain, but work has begun to resume, CEO Elon Musk told employees in an e-mail on Thursday. “We are experiencing some parts supply issues, so took the opportunity to bring Fremont production down for a few days to do equipment upgrades and maintenance,” Musk said in an all-staff message seen by Bloomberg. The factory was “back up and running as of yesterday,” and would rapidly ramp up to full production of Model 3 and Model Y cars “over the next several days,”
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) is expected to post a 25 percent year-on-year increase in sales in the first quarter of this year to US$12.91 billion, up from US$10.31 billion a year earlier, as its production is at full capacity, market advisory firm TrendForce Corp said in a note last week. The increase would help TSMC cement its leadership in the industry by taking a 56 percent market share in the global pure wafer foundry business, TrendForce said. Its forecast was in line with TSMC’s estimate in January, which pointed to a range of US$12.7 billion to US$13 billion for the
MULTI-USE: The arrangement of seats in future vehicles would be different, allowing passengers to do everything they do at home, the CEO of the firm’s EV platform said Electric vehicles (EVs) developed on a Hon Hai Precision Industry Co (鴻海精密) platform would be built like “a smartphone on a different platform,” Jack Cheng (鄭顯聰), chief executive officer of the Hon Hai-initiated MIH Open Platform Alliance, said on Saturday. It would be the ultimate goal to make vehicles built on the platform an extension of the driver’s home, he said during an online presentation. The alliance aims to provide resources to automakers and boost Taiwan’s EV development, with a vision to make an EV its owner’s “second home,” Cheng said. “Whatever they can do in their home, they will be able
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) was on Thursday set to sell local currency bonds, as it prepared for a spending blitz amid a global chip shortage. The world’s largest contract chipmaker planned to price about NT$16 billion (US$565.25 million) of notes in three parts in an auction, though the actual issuance size might change. The manufacturer would have to contend with a recent rise in rates globally that has sent many corporate bond yields up from record lows in the past few weeks. The debt offering comes at a promising time for the semiconductor industry as the world scrambles its way