Taiwan should reduce its trade dependency on China: ROCCOC

10/10/2021 09:02 PM
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Taipei, Oct. 10 (CNA) President of the General Chamber of Commerce of the Republic of China (ROCCOC) Hsu Shu-po (許舒博) on Sunday said Taiwan should strive to reduce its trade dependency on China and instead seek to expand in central and eastern Europe.

Hsu made the comments during an interview with CNA on Sunday, in response to President Tsai Ing-wen's (蔡英文) National Day address.

Hsu focused on the part of Tsai's speech where she said: "Our position on cross-strait relations remains the same: neither our goodwill nor our commitments will change. We call for maintaining the status quo, and we will do our utmost to prevent the status quo from being unilaterally altered."

Hsu said that while everyone wants peace, "China's understanding of Taiwan's 'status quo' may not be the same as that of Taiwan." He said that the different perspectives go some way to explaining China's constant incursions into Taiwan's air defense identification zone (ADIZ).

He went on to say that in terms of cross-strait economics and trade, more than 40 percent of Taiwan's exports go to China. Meaning, should Taiwan lose China as a trade partner, the damage would be disproportionately bad for Taiwan. As such, it is in the national interest to try and reduce exports to China to around 20 percent.

Hsu also used China's "Belt and Road Initiative" as an example of how Taiwan could establish better relationships with other countries and draw in prospective trade partners, so as not to "put all our eggs in one basket."

When it comes to the government's widely promoted New Southbound Policy, Hsu said the program has shown less potential than expected at diminishing the economic power China has over Taiwan.

Based on his analysis, he said it is likely China's influence on Southeast Asian nations greatly exceeds the goodwill gestures of Taiwan.

Instead, Hsu added, the nation should expand its horizons to new markets in central and eastern Europe, to countries such as the Czech Republic and Lithuania who recently donated COVID-19 vaccines to Taiwan.

In related news, Chinese National Federation of Industries (CNFI) Secretary-General Tsai Lien-sheng (蔡練生) also provided his views regarding Taiwan's current economic situation during an interview with CNA.

Tsai said that in light of the U.S.-China trade war, Taiwan is seeing more expats invest at home. However, if still more investors decide to do so, the nation needs to resolve its shortage of water, energy and land, as well as ensure the workforce has the requisite skills.

Although Taiwan expects economic growth this year to be around 5-6 percent, Tsai added that CNFI statistics show profits are generally going to either large conglomerates or companies in the semiconductor industry. Small and medium sized enterprises which make up the majority of Taiwan's businesses are still suffering because of the pandemic.

In conclusion, Tsai recommended that the government should utilize Taiwan's application to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership to help local businesses transition and better adapt to the global market.

(By Hsieh Fang-wu and James Lo)

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