主筆室 (pen name meaning “Chief Writer’s Room”), commentator, in Storm Media (February 8, 2021)
Summary by Alan Yang Gregory (Photo credit: bryan…)
In 2020, Taiwan's economic growth rate was 2.98 percent, marking the first time that it surpassed China in 30 years. While this achievement may appear worthy of celebration, it is important to not get too excited.
The key reasons why Taiwan’s growth rate surpassed China’s in 2020 was Taiwan’s successful control of Covid-19 combined with the impact of the Sino-US trade war. In addition, China suffered in the first quarter of 2020 as it struggled to control the epidemic. Obviously, Taiwan’s growth will not exceed China’s after normality returns.
While a higher growth rate is of course a good thing, Taiwan actually no longer requires a rapid growth. There are more important concerns such as the living environment. In addition, attention must be paid to future risks such as the worryingly high degree of unbalanced development. For example, while private investment is growing, semiconductors have an oversized role.
In terms of foreign international economic and trade relations, Taiwan’s marginalization has continued to worsen. In November 2020, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) trade agreement was signed but Taiwan was blocked from participating. Taiwan has also made no progress in joining regional economic and trade organizations such as Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). In addition, the shifts in Sino-US relations since US President Joe Biden took office remain unknown, and it is not clear whether they will benefit Taiwan.
There is no point, therefore, in celebrating surpassing China in economic performance under these extraordinary circumstances. Instead, more attention should be paid to how to address the risks and challenges ahead.