The European Parliament on Wednesday approved the report addressing trade-related aspects and implications of COVID-19. The report also details the trade policy direction the EU is expected to take given the new momentum following an unprecedented health crisis.
Among a list of foreign trade policy ideas proposed in this report, one urges the European Commission to forge ahead with an investment deal with the island of Taiwan by taking the necessary steps towards an impact assessment, a public consultation and a scoping exercise by the end. from 2021.
This is not the first time that some anti-Chinese Western politicians have pushed for a trade and investment deal with the Taiwan region, which, from the outside, looks more like a political coup that has failed. little economic sense.
Indeed, despite the growing importance of the Taiwanese semiconductor industry in the global supply chain amid the recent chip shortage, from a purely economic perspective, the island’s commercial importance of Taiwan for the EU is nowhere near enough for European politicians to view the Taiwan deal as a political idea option in the aforementioned report. In 2020, the island of Taiwan is the 14th largest trading partner of the EU, and the EU’s trade with the island of Taiwan represents only 1.4% of the total, according to statistics from the European Commission.
By comparison, the Chinese mainland has overtaken the United States to become the EU’s largest trading partner in 2020, regardless of headwinds and difficulties for bilateral trade during the pandemic. Ironically, against the backdrop of such a stark contrast in economic value, the European Parliament passed the motion to suspend the EU-China Comprehensive Investment Agreement (CAI) and approved a report supporting an investment deal. with the island of Taiwan. It is not that difficult for anyone with a basic knowledge of geopolitics to see the motivations behind the movement.
Yet any attempt to use the Taiwan issue to put pressure on the Chinese mainland is doomed to failure. Previously, there had been speculation about the resumption of talks on the trade and investment framework agreement between the United States and the Taiwan region. In response, a spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign Ministry made it clear that “We strongly oppose all forms of official interactions between the United States and the island of Taiwan and reject any agreement that has sovereignty implications. and official in nature between countries having diplomatic relations with China and the Taiwan region. “
The EU also clearly understands that the Taiwan issue is a matter for China’s internal affairs and that countries having diplomatic relations with China must respect the one-China principle. Therefore, any political spectacle on the Taiwan issue is irresponsible for the long-term development of bilateral economic and trade cooperation.
Of course, it should also be noted that the report approved by the European Parliament does not fully represent the guidelines for the EU to act in the future. As it is believed that most EU members will not support a plan that runs counter to one of the cornerstones of modern international relations, we sincerely hope that the EU will exercise sufficient caution in regarding the Taiwan issue.