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.
The Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC) yesterday said it has approved ShopeePay Taiwan Co’s (蝦皮支付) application to operate an electronic payment service in Taiwan, as the third-party payment service provider has to manage higher fund flows due to the rising business of its e-commerce affiliate Shopee Taiwan Co (樂購蝦皮). If a third-party payment service provider’s average daily transactions surpass NT$1 billion (US$34.7 million), it must apply to the commission to become an e-payment company, which is subject to stricter regulations, the commission told a news conference in New Taipei City. ShopeePay handled NT$3.1 billion on average in daily transactions last year, Banking
ARIZONA PROJECT: A spokeswoman said that TSMC appreciates the support from US authorities, which gives it and its partners confidence about future investments City officials in Phoenix, Arizona, on Wednesday approved a slate of financial incentives and government support for Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co’s (TSMC, 台積電) planned US$12 billion chip plant, a step toward bringing high-tech manufacturing to the US and addressing national security concerns over the industry supply chain. The city agreed to provide about US$200 million to develop roads, sewers and other infrastructure, according to a notice from the city council. At least one additional set of traffic lights would be included for a cost of approximately US$500,000. The company is conducting due diligence on several locations in Phoenix with a final decision to
A.P. Moller-Maersk A/S is planning to launch a US$1.6 billion share buyback program as the world’s biggest container shipping company weathers the COVID-19 crisis better than expected. Copenhagen-based Maersk, which on Tuesday raised its guidance for a second time since last month, reported a 39 percent rise in earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization to US$2.3 billion in the third quarter. Profit by that measure, before restructuring and integration costs, would reach US$8 billion to US$8.5 billion this year, the company said. Its previous guidance was for US$7.5 billion to US$8 billion. “The global economic environment was [in the third quarter]
OPPORTUNITY: After Huawei said it would sell a sub-brand, potentially exempting it from the US ban, the Hsinchu-based chipmaker eyes the chance to boost sales in China MediaTek Inc (聯發科) yesterday became the nation’s second-most valuable listed company after its market capitalization climbed to NT$1.157 trillion (US$40.23 billion) amid investors’ optimism of new business opportunities, while Hon Hai Precision Industry Co (鴻海精密), a major assembler of Apple Inc’s iPhones, fell one notch to third with a market capitalization of NT$1.153 trillion. The increase in MediaTek’s value came as its shares rallied 4.6 percent to close at NT$728 yesterday, as investors expected the handset chip supplier to benefit from Huawei Technologies Co’s (華為) decision to sell its low-to-mid-range smartphone business under the Honor (榮耀) sub-brand. On Tuesday, Huawei announced