A growing economic relationship between Taiwan and India would be a very positive development in Taiwan’s effort to become fully integrated into the regional economy. The U.S. should encourage it.
Taiwan hopes that a recent report funded by India’s Ministry of External affairs and released by India’s Council for Research on International Economic Relations will lay the groundwork for an economic cooperation agreement and eventually a free trade agreement (FTA) with India. In fact, one of the recommendations from the report encouraged increased collaboration between India and Taiwan through the formation of a joint working group to discuss the possibility of a comprehensive economic partnership agreement.
Taiwan and India already have a robust trading relationship, with total trade expected to reach $10 billion in the next few years. However, one Indian official warned that a free trade agreement with Taiwan is unlikely, since India does not have formal diplomatic relations with Taiwan. In the end, this should not be a problem. Most of the world is in a similar position. That didn’t stop New Zealand from concluding an agreement with Taiwan, and it hasn’t stopped Singapore from pursuing one.
Taiwan has taken significant strides to prove that it is a worthy player in the game of international trade. According to Deputy U.S. Trade Representative Demetrios Marantis, “The dedication of our partners from Taiwan to achieving positive outcomes in investment, information, and communication technology services, and other areas is a testament to…Taiwan’s economic opening and deepening ties with regional and global partners.”
The U.S. should continue to lead by example as it seeks to incorporate Taiwan into major trade talks conducted under the rubric of the U.S.–Taiwan Trade and Investment Framework Agreement, ultimately leading to its own FTA with Taiwan. The U.S. should also encourage its participation in the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
It is critical that the U.S. voice its continued support for Taiwan as a viable partner in international trade and regional economic integration. U.S. leadership and support is critical to solidifying Taiwan’s economic and political resilience and legitimacy in the region. The U.S. should do all it can to help.