Taiwan calls on Australia to resume free trade agreement negotiations

Taiwan hopes that the Australian government will resume negotiations on a free trade agreement after several suspensions under pressure from Beijing.

Brisbane Taiwan Economic and Cultural Representative Office (TECO) Director Edward Tao told Australian This will be a good opportunity for both countries suffering from economic oppression from Beijing.

“Like Australia, we are experiencing economic bullying from China and are afraid of what it will do,” said Tao. “Last year, they exported pineapples to the mainland. Has stopped. “

According to Tao, a country with the same population as Australia on half the size of Tasmania is the largest purchaser of Australian products per capita.

“Australia maintains a very healthy trade surplus of about $ 9 billion with Taiwan, and trade is expected to increase over the next few years,” he said, and Australia is considered a safe and friendly investment environment. I added that.

Tao said, Taiwan also said they are wary to the increasingly aggressive attitude of China, the predecessor said that would like to leave the Xi Jinping, who is a “very different leader” is heritage.

“We are very aware that the real threat and situation from China is heated, but we hope the wise head will win,” he said.

Beijing’s interference with Australian and Taiwanese FTAs

Australia’s official position is currently sticking to Beijing’s “One China” policy, not officially recognizing Taiwan as a sovereign state, and having no official diplomatic relations.

However, in 2016, negotiations between the then Turnbull administration and Taiwan were put on hold as the Chinese government pressured the suspension of trade agreements. The China and Australia FTAs ​​were just signed in 2015, a year ago.

Former Liberal Senator David Rayon Germ said The 2017 Australian Financial Review, in which Andrew Robb was Minister of Trade from 2013 to 2016, said the FTA with Taiwan was “natural.” However, the Turnbull administration did not do this after China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi was informed that Australia’s former Foreign Minister Julie Bishop had threatened not to pursue an FTA with Taiwan.

“The Chinese government is changing the situation between Taiwan and mainland China, and China is not in favor of Australia seeking a free trade agreement with Taiwan, as New Zealand did a few years ago. I told me that it wasn’t. ”The 2018 Fairfax media.

Tsai English
Taiwan’s TTT English President will give a speech at the National Foundation Day celebration in front of Cheong Wa Dae in Taipei, Taiwan on October 10, 2020. (Chiang Ying-ying / AP Photo)

Now, Taiwanese diplomats and officials are again calling on Australia to strengthen relations between the two countries as war warnings in the Asia-Pacific region grow.

In December 2020, Taiwan’s TT English President expressed his desire to sign an economic cooperation agreement with Australia.

“We welcome Australian friends to” rediscover “Taiwan, encourage Taiwanese to” rediscover “Australia, and promote more bilateral cooperation and exchanges. Tsai said, According to the official translation. “We also hope that Taiwan and Australia will be able to negotiate and sign the ECA. [Economic Cooperation Agreement] And we will further deepen our partnership. “

Taiwan’s Foreign Minister Joseph Joseph Foreign also sought broader relations and stronger ties as Australia diversified away from China after a year of economic coercion from Beijing.

“Looking at neighboring New Zealand, they have already signed an FTA with Taiwan. They are robbing Australia of many trading opportunities.” Wu said “Maybe Australia will think about ways to strengthen relations and strengthen trade relations with Taiwan by signing an ECA with Taiwan,” the AFR on May 6 said.

Taiwan is Australia’s 7th largest export market and overall the 10th largest trading partner.

Australia currently has or is in talks with all of the top 10 trading partners except Taiwan.

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