The signing of the economic cooperation framework agreement with China was a major leap forward for Taiwan. However, as the authors of the just-released AEI report “Taiwan, Inc.: A home for global business” argued on Thursday, the agreement is only the first step toward making Taiwan a more active commercial hub in Asia. The authors argued that Taiwan must make a series of domestic reforms and capitalize on its comparative advantages to transform the country into a more attractive place to do business.
AEI’s Paul Wolfowitz framed the discussion by describing Taiwan’s unique political situation and its associated challenges. Report co-authors Derek Scissors of the Heritage Foundation and Dan Blumenthal of AEI laid out a vision for a stronger and more secure Taiwan that can compete with Hong Kong, Singapore, and Tokyo to become a major commercial hub in Asia.
Scissors, Blumenthal, and Rupert Hammond-Chambers of the US-Taiwan Business Council emphasized the need for Taiwan to be proactive rather than reactive in embarking on reforms. In a marked break from the authors of the report, Mignonne Chan of the Chinese Taipei Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Study Center suggested that Taiwan must pursue stable and secure growth rather than rapid unilateral liberalization.
Overall, the panelists’ differing viewpoints highlight that despite the common hope for Taiwan’s economic and international success, there is disagreement on the best path to achieving that success.
-- Lara Crouch and Samuel Eckstein
Taiwan punches well above its weight in the global economy. With only 23 million people, it is the 23rd largest economy in the world. And it is attempting to expand its external trade, having signed the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement with China in 2010.
Even so, Taiwan has yet to undertake crucial domestic reforms in the areas of regulation, finance, labor, and education that could launch its rise as a commercial hub in the Asian region. Following opening remarks by Ambassador Paul Wolfowitz, three co-authors of the forthcoming AEI report “Taiwan, Inc.: A Home for Global Business” — Dan Blumenthal, Derek Scissors, and Gary Schmitt — will delve into the major findings of their report. Two discussants will then offer their own perspectives on the major needs of Taiwan’s economy.
If you are unable to attend, we welcome you to watch the event live on this page. Full video will be posted within 24 hours.