27 February 2020

Foreign countries halt trade talks with Taiwan, paper says

Several foreign countries have suspended free trade negotiations with Taiwan amid student protests against a service trade agreement with mainland China, Economic Daily News reported Wednesday, citing a source with knowledge of the matter.

These include the Philippines, Israel, India and Indonesia. They are waiting to see how the emerging student movement will affect their own negotiations on a free trade agreement with Taiwan. The negotiations had been expected to reach a crucial stage this year.

Eight countries have free trade agreements with the island, including New Zealand and Singapore.

Meanwhile, Lin Yifu, an economist at the National School of Development of Peking University, said Taiwan should have a certain kind of free trade agreement with the mainland before any other country. A cross-strait pact will benefit both sides, he told the Boao Forum for Asia Tuesday.

Lin urged China to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) talks, saying it should continue to engage its most important trade partners in Asia, the report said.

Taiwan is looking to join the TPP negotiations.

– Contact HKEJ at [email protected]