Sunday, October 30, 2011

Proposal for a cross-Strait Peace Agreement

l  Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou recently declared that his administration would "cautiously consider" whether Taiwan should sign a peace agreement with China in the coming decade. Ma also identified three preconditions—deemed necessary for Taiwan, strong domestic support, and legislative oversight—which must first be met before commencing political talks with Beijing. These preconditions were clearly designed to avoid giving an impression that cross-Strait political discussions are imminent if Ma gets reelected.

l  The  president's announcement immediately sent shock waves throughout Taiwan while the impact on the upcoming legislative and presidential elections remained uncertain. Ma’s statement, however, did not represent a fundamental change in his cross-Strait policy where “easy things first, economics before politics” remains unchanged. With less than three months to go before the January 14 vote, it would be politically risky for the Ma campaign if the peace agreement with China was perceived by most as a priority in the president’s second term.

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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

When the ROC becomes popular

l  Taiwan’s official designation, the Republic of China (ROC), has suddenly become popular in the presidential campaign as Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen declared recently that “the ROC is Taiwan, and Taiwan is the ROC.” It was also the first time that Tsai had equated the Republic of China with Taiwan.

l  Undoubtedly Tsai’s statements was a sharp departure from her earlier position on the ROC. Though many suspected it was a politically calculated move to attract more centrist votes, it could also be a double-edged sword that might have alienated some core DPP supporters, particularly those pro-independence fundamentalists.....

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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Implications of the worse-than-expected trade numbers

l  Taiwan’s exports and imports continued to decline and fell for the second consecutive month in September.

l  Primarily because of the recent global economic slowdown and the declining sales of optical and petrochemical products in particular, Taiwan’s export-oriented economy is expected to experience further slowdown unless, and until, the European debt crisis stabilizes and the US makes a sustained economic recovery.

l  We believed that the fourth quarter—despite usually being the peak season for Taiwan’s external trade—will continue to see slowed growth because of the European debt crisis and the sluggish economic recovery, particularly the high unemployment, in the United States.

l  As a result, we expect the government will soon adjust downward the 15 percent annual export growth originally projected by the Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS).

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Saturday, October 15, 2011

Taiwan’s CPI remains steady

l  With the worldwide economic outlook remains cloudy, Taiwan’s export-oriented economy is expected to experience a slowdown. According to statistics released by the Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS), however, Taiwan’s consumer price index (CPI) in September increased 0.11 percent from the previous month to 107.2. The increase in CPI was seen as a result of higher demand for meat, fruit, and vegetables during the mid-Autumn Festival.

l  Although the prices of commodities such as clothes, eggs, fruits, aquatic products, fuel, meat and rice were all higher year-on-year, the prices of vegetables, communication and 3C consumer products all fell compared with last year. The relatively steady CPI, therefore, could help maintain the level of consumer confidence as non-economic factors, particularly the upcoming presidential election, begin to assume a more prominent role.

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Sunday, October 9, 2011

Political sensitivity rises with elections nearing

l  Whenever there is an islandwide election in Taiwan, politically sensitive issues, e.g. Taiwan’s participation in the United Nations (UN) and its affiliated organizations, are likely to be manipulated for political purposes. The presidential election in January 2012 is no exception.

 l  Candidates and political parties need an “occasional spark” to energize core supporters and broaden grassroots appeal to break away from the closest rival.

l  No one should be surprised that issues related to Taiwan’s international space would invariably find a way into Taiwan’s emotion-laden campaigns, especially in a close contest like the upcoming presidential election.

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Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Soong Launches Presidential Bid

l  Taiwan's People First Party (PFP) Chairman James Soong formally announced his bid for the presidential election, turning the January 2012 contest for Taiwan's top political office into a three-way race.

l  The much-anticipated decision meant that Soong will be running against the ruling Kuomintang (KMT) and the opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) for the second time in his political career. Moreover, his candidacy represented another organized attempt to break the deepening Blue-Green divide characteristic of Taiwan’s domestic politics since 2000.

l  The precise impact of Soong’s presidential bid remains unclear. Since Soong has consistently been able to capture 12-15 percent support in opinion polls, neither the KMT nor the DPP could afford to take his candidacy lightly. The final 100 days of the campaign should be, at least, intense and interesting.

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