Challenges and Opportunities of a EU-Taiwan ECA: A Review of Political-Economic Perspectives

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Series Details Number 56
Publication Date November 2012
ISBN 978-2-36567-095-1
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Concerns over becoming marginalized in the course of East Asian economic integration are driving a proactive regional trade agreement (RTA) strategy on the part of Taiwan. Three factors explain this concern: Competing visions of economic integration in the region from both the United States and China, the success of Korea in concluding a large number of important RTAs, and the increasing number of overlapping agreements that crowd out countries and economies such as Taiwan that do not have proactive RTA strategies.

Taiwan has completed free trade agreements (FTAs) with five countries in Central America, as well as an Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) with China. In the case of a EU-Taiwan economic cooperation agreement (ECA), however, predictions that such an agreement will favor the EU have led to a lack of enthusiasm in Taiwan. Attention has largely been focused on follow-up negations with China concerning post-ECFA arrangements and on potential agreements with the US and partners in a Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). The successful negotiation of a EU-Taiwan ECA crucially depends on generating both the motivation for bilateral collaboration and incentives for signing such an agreement.

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