Risky cross-strait misperceptions

Published in Taipei Times, April, 1st, 2017
Original link: http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/editorials/archives/2017/04/01/2003667845

Risky cross-strait misperceptions

By Eric Chiou 邱奕宏 /
Sat, Apr 01, 2017 – Page 8
China’s detention of Taiwanese human rights advocate Lee Ming-che (李明哲) can be viewed as a blunt retaliation against Taiwan’s detention early last month of Chinese former student Zhou Hongxu (周泓旭) on suspicion of recruiting officials for a spy ring. Due to the lack of direct communication and mounting misperceptions on both sides, relations across the Taiwan Strait have gradually headed into a vicious spiral.
Since President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) inauguration in May last year, relations between Taiwan and China have plunged into a deep quagmire of “cold peace,” distinct from the “warm peace” during former president Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) terms.

From Beijing’s perspective, this dramatic conversion can be attributed to the new administration’s refusal to recognize the so-called “1992 consensus,” which is highly regarded by Beijing as the foundation of maintaining peaceful cross-strait relations.
From Taipei’s viewpoint, with the latest mandate of the people, the Tsai administration has few reasons to uphold the “flawed and fabricated” consensus between the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and the Chinese Communist Party.

Since Taiwanese broadly believe that cross-strait relations during the Ma administration resulted in overdependence on China, it was necessary for the Tsai administration to adjust its China policy in response to the expectations of its electorate.

Due to different understanding of each other’s behavior, political friction between Taipei and Beijing becomes inevitable. Irrefutably, lack of mutual trust between political leaders on the two sides has made relations increasingly fragile. Any reckless rhetoric and policies by one side might easily be misinterpreted as malicious and hostile behavior by the other.

Since peaceful, stable and sustainable relations are beneficial for both sides, leaders must sagaciously manage any flash points of conflict, while preventing any remarks and policies that could be perceived as provocative in the eyes of the other.

Most importantly, political leaders in Taipei and Beijing should devote more efforts toward facilitating empathic understanding, while doing their best to minimize the risks of foolhardy policies due to misperception of their counterpart’s behaviors. After all, the accumulation of misperceptions would eventually lead to an irreversible self-fulfilling prophecy, which would not only distort decisionmakers’ comprehension of their counterpart’s intentions, but could also trigger catastrophic consequences that neither side wants.

The hazards afforded by misperceptions are especially pervasive and precarious in today’s delicate relations. Its crucial effect lies in its ability to twist or conceal reality to mislead political leaders into making flawed decisions.

To Beijing, the most conspicuous obstruction is Tsai’s refusal to acknowledge the “1992 consensus.” However, it might merely be a verbal excuse. Many Taiwan experts in Beijing might have subjectively assumed that Tsai is an ingrained proponent of Taiwanese independence and might subconsciously hold pessimistic prospects about the next four years.

Tsai’s downplaying of the “1992 consensus” might fit into Beijing’s existing assumption that she is a low-profile, but determined adherent to independence. The worst consequence of this self-fulfilling prophecy is its influence on the distortion and screening of undesirable facts that shape reality in accordance with anticipated outcomes.

When Beijing holds arbitrary prejudice toward Tsai, any of her administration’s policies are likely to be politicized through the tainted lens of the ideological microscope. Any policies would be interpreted as malevolent plots with a hidden political agenda. Therefore, the prevalence of biased misinterpretations and deep-rooted prejudices would obscure any gestures of goodwill and lead to the negligence of conciliatory opportunities.

For instance, Tsai has repeatedly asserted her intention of maintaining the “status quo” and devoted herself to constructing “consistent, sustainable and predictable” cross-strait development, implying that Taiwan’s government promises not to pursue any radical political initiatives that could dramatically overturn the “status quo” during her term.
This political statement toward Beijing is viewed by most experts as fairly moderate, but weak by pro-independence advocates. Compared with former president Chen Shui-bian’s (陳水扁) fickleness and unpredictability, the Tsai administration’s China policy is prudent, moderate and consistent.

In practice, the Tsai administration has borne enormous pressure from her supporters and deliberately excluded political fundamentalists from taking important positions in the Cabinet to avoid any hasty political reforms or ideology-driven policies that might be ill-perceived by Beijing and disrupt peace and stability across the strait.
As this fact illustrates, the Tsai administration has attempted to show its goodwill toward Beijing by exerting self-restraint and undertaking unilateral efforts to defuse possible political provocation.

However, Beijing has seemingly not only taken Taiwan’s low-key policies for granted, it has also strongly insisted that any future cross-strait development should submit to the precondition of the “1992 consensus,” which makes the political stalemate unsolvable.
If Beijing remains stuck in its self-made ideological trap, any conciliatory gestures from Taipei are likely to be misinterpreted as malicious scams. This not only hinders healthy development of relations, but also undermines Tsai’s incentives and patience in sustaining a moderate China policy at the expense of alienating and irritating the radical factions in her political camp.

What is worse is that Beijing seems to have a tendency to apply its political yardstick to gauge Taiwan’s vibrant and diverse political reality, which usually breeds more misconceptions instead of empathic understanding.

For instance, there have been various appeals from Taiwanese asking for revision of the national anthem, participation in the UN and so forth. It would be naive for Beijing to falsely assume that all of these political movements are motivated by and collude with the Tsai administration to secretively alter Taiwan’s status quo.
After all, Taiwan is a dynamic democracy. Unlike China, the government has to abide by the law and guarantee freedom of speech. It cannot brutally clamp down on lawful political activities, regardless of their political stance toward Taiwanese independence or unification with China.

Due to insufficient empathy, Beijing’s policies toward Taiwan are more inclined toward achieving satisfaction of its domestic political needs, rather than impartially facilitating a sustainable and constructive relationship.

However, Beijing’s ignorance about Taiwan’s political reality perhaps is not the most intimidating. What is more dangerous might be Beijing’s increasingly hegemonic mindset toward Taiwan and its other neighbors.

With its growing economy and ascending military capabilities, Chinese have become more confident and nationalistic than ever. The flip side of the coin is that some Chinese have become more conceited and self-centered, with a looming danger of fanatical nationalism. Threats from some Chinese to not exclude military means to unify with Taiwan shows this latent hazard.

As unbridled nationalism appears, Beijing’s growing authoritative proclivity to bully the weak might prove to be a double-edged sword. While it might satisfy domestic nationalist sentiment, its overbearing behavior might induce more backlash in the long run.

According to the latest opinion poll, Beijing’s heavy-handed retaliation against South Korea over the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system has made China the most-hated nation in South Korea — higher than Japan. This should offer Beijing meaningful reflection on its Taiwan policy.

Given nationalism’s inflammability and destructiveness, it is undesirable for both Taipei and Beijing to turn the political deadlock into a clash between people on both sides. This is why both leaders have exercised tolerance and prevented political discord from escalating.

Both governments should do their utmost to reduce the odds of misperceptions. The best way to do this is to keep an open mind, avoid judgement and listen sincerely.
However, breaking the political impasse will require both sides to have a more flexible, creative and emphatic understanding of each other. These elements are needed to jump-start the stalled engine of cross-strait relations.

Eric Chiou is an assistant professor of international relations and international political economy at National Chiao Tung University.


Prospects for Trump’s Trade Policy in 2018

Prospects for Trump’s Trade Policy in 2018

Eric Chiou, Associate Professor

(The original article is issued in the Asian Pacific Perspectives,  No. 1, 2018, available at: http://www.ctpecc.org.tw/publications/Perspectives10701.pdf)

This past January, numerous global leaders and business elites gathered at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland, to share their insights on global economic trends.

Among the various subjects of media attention, US President Donald Trump’s speech no doubt drew the most press, given that US trade policy under his administration has been seen as one of the crucial factors affecting global economic stability.

Indeed, since his inauguration in January 2017, international society has been haunted by the gloomy prospect of an upcoming “trade war,” together with anxiety over the uncertainty surrounding Trump’s trade policy.

As advocates of globalization and liberal economists fretted about the possible consequences of Trump’s economic nationalist rhetoric and his apparent “anti-globalization” proclivities, these supporters of free trade applauded Chinese President Xi Jinping in Davos last year when he delivered remarks firmly defending economic globalization. Xi framed himself as a savior of market mechanisms and global free trade, and positioned China as the last guardian of the existing global economic order.

Despite Xi’s rhetoric, there was no apparent seismic shift in the global economic order over the first year of Trump’s presidency, nor were the most pessimistic predictions of liberal economists borne out. The global economy grew 3.7% in 2017, and global growth is expected to increase to 3.9% in 2018, according to the IMF’s January 2018 forecast.

However, the lingering shadows of trade protectionism and an upcoming trade war have not disappeared. Indeed, the Trump administration last year began an investigation under Section 301 of the US’s Trade Act into alleged violations of intellectual property rights by China. And this past January, Washington imposed steep tariffs on Chinese solar panels and South Korean washing machines under Section 201 of the Act.

Many experts who earlier predicted the outbreak of a trade war saw the record-high US trade deficit in 2017 – signifying a heavy slap in the face of the Trump administration’s efforts to reduce it – as a main potential motivating factor. As a result, Trump’s address in Davos became particularly important, given the profound global economic implications of US trade policy guided by Trump.

In front of a pro-globalization audience in Davos, Trump’s speech did not deviate from his “America First” rhetoric, but did deliver a pro-business message, proclaiming: “America is open for business, and we are competitive once again.”

In other words, what he intended to impress upon his audience in Davos is that the US has become a more business-friendly environment under his administration. And “America First” certainly does not mean “America Alone” or isolationism as some skeptics claim.

In terms of trade policy, Trump pointed out that Washington aims to reform the international trade system in order to promote shared prosperity and reward countries who abide by trade rules. He asserted that the US supports free trade, but that “it needs to be fair and it needs to be reciprocal.”

Trump also warned that the US will “no longer turn a blind eye to unfair economic practices,” such as “massive intellectual property theft, industrial subsides and pervasive state-led economic planning.”

In the interview, Trump claimed that he would reconsider the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) if he could strike a “substantially better deal.” Trump also vowed to enforce US trade laws and restore the integrity of the US-led trading system, insisting that fair and free trade would benefit all countries, not just the US. The takeaway was that the US is prepared to sign mutually beneficial bilateral trade pacts with other countries.

From Trump’s aforementioned statements, it seems problematic to accuse Trump of being “anti-free trade” or promoting “trade protectionism” purely on the basis of his overweening economic nationalist rhetoric and his prioritization of so-called “American interests.”

Essentially, trade protectionist states display the following characteristics: First, they deliberately utilize various policy instruments, such as high tariffs and non-tariff barriers, to discourage imports from other countries and protect their markets and domestic industries.

Second, they intentionally adopt industrial policies, subsidies for export-oriented industries, exchange rate manipulation, and other measures to promote exports and facilitate national development. The ultimate goal of these measures is generally to obtain a massive trade surplus while accumulating foreign reserves to bolster national wealth.

Under these standards, it would be difficult to classify the United States as a trade protectionist state, given its gaping trade deficit of US$810 billion in 2017. China, Mexico, and Japan are the three countries carrying the highest trade surpluses with the US, with China’s surplus alone accounting for nearly half of the US’s total trade deficit. It is therefore unsurprising that Xi rejected any “trade protectionism” that may alter the status quo favoring Beijing.

Two broadly-used measures of trade protectionism are tariff and non-tariff barriers. According to the WTO, the average tariff rate in the US was 3.5% in 2016, much lower than China’s 9.9%, South Korea’s 13.9%, India’s 13.4%, Mexico’s 7%, and the EU’s 5.2%.

While the WTO allows developing countries to impose higher tariffs for the purpose of protecting their domestic markets, some developing countries disregard the WTO principles of non-discrimination and the free market to take advantage of these allowances. It seems hypocritical for these countries to portray themselves as resolute believers in free trade and to denounce others for trade protectionism.

As for non-tariff measures, the US has a lower prevalence score, coverage ratio, and frequency index than China, the EU, and Japan, according to data from UNCTAD. In other words, to crown the US as a trade protectionist state ignores the fact that other major trading countries have gone farther than the US in adopting unfair trade practices which violate WTO principles.

On the other hand, recent developments in US trade policy have rightly triggered widespread concerns. For instance, in March, Trump decided to impose a 25% tariff on steel and a 10% tariff on aluminum, a decision which met with immediate resistance from his Republican Party and from US allies, who worry that the imposition of tariffs is likely to trigger retaliatory measures by affected countries and possibly pave the way for a full-blown trade war.

Given the rising tide of US trade protectionism, there are other reasons for many countries to be worried about Trump’s trade policy. First, the US remains one of the largest consumer markets in the world, with exports from many states directly or indirectly reliant on the US market.

Second, the US plays an irreplaceable role in the global system, with more transparent and easier market access than other countries. If Washington were to initiate tariff barriers across all categories without exemption, many states would suffer and retaliate, a scenario which would likely escalate into a full-blown trade war with grave implications for the global economy.

Third, given that the US continues to play a crucial role in global upstream supply chains and in consumer markets, if Trump succeeds in twisting global supply chains by moving manufacturing back to the US and reshaping the global trade system, those countries enjoying excessive trade benefits from the existing trade system may lose their advantages in global competition.

Thus, it suits countries with vested interests in the current system to maintain this imbalanced system and to thwart, resist, and deny any appeals for reform from the US. As a result, tensions between the reform-oriented US and proponents of the status quo are likely to continue.

After a 2017 in which Trump’s trade policy secured no concrete achievements but revealed his proclivities for bragging, flip-flopping, and bluffing in cases including the US’s withdrawal from the TPP, threatened trade sanctions against China and Mexico, and renegotiation of NAFTA and the US-Korea FTA, the year of 2018 is a critical time for examining whether Trump’s trade policy can actually lead to substantial changes in the world economic system.

Due to various political and economic factors, the Trump administration will be forced to adopt tougher trade policies this year, a trend foreshadowed by the US’s recently announced tariffs on steel and aluminum. We can expect that with the US midterm congressional elections coming up in November, Trump may utilize a more aggressive trade policy to rally his supporters and to boost his low approval rating.

Externally, Trump’s trade policy of appeasement toward China in exchange for the latter’s cooperation last year on the North Korean nuclear issue may also change in response to recent developments. Now, there are indications that the Trump administration may disengage Chinese trade from the US pursuit of North Korean denuclearization. Such a move might signal that Trump intends to adopt more hostile trade measures against China, in order to compel more substantial concessions.

We can therefore expect that Trump’s trade policy will develop in the following directions. First, the US will utilize its trade laws more frequently and pervasively, targeting its major trading partners with huge bilateral trade surpluses while initiating investigations and imposing trade sanctions as threats to win concessions.

Second, the US will take a more aggressive approach to reforming the WTO and its existing mode of operation. If it cannot obtain agreeable responses, Washington will move to resist, deny and undermine the legitimacy of the WTO.

Third, the US will strongly compel its trading partners to further open their domestic markets to American goods and services, and to enforce protections on US intellectual property rights.

Finally, the US will continue to adopt an unyielding posture in multilateral trade negotiations like NAFTA, and will use tariffs as extra bargaining chips in such talks. As for the TPP, there is uncertainty on whether the US will return soon, given the lack of clarity on whether the 11 countries to have signed the revised agreement will agree on Washington’s terms for renegotiation.

In the end, Trump’s threatened tariffs may not only harm and alienate the US’s trading partners, but also prove self-destructive, making it more likely that these tariffs remain a rhetorical tactic to be used in trade negotiations rather than as a policy to incite total trade war. However, given Trump’s unpredictable personality, even imposition of tariffs on certain products could quickly escalate into a total and destructive “trade war.” Nevertheless, until the US makes progress in cutting its trade deficit and reforming the global trading system, the outlook for global trade in 2018 will remain turbulent and unstable.

(Eric Chiou is an Associate Professor in International Political Economy at National Chiao Tung University)


邱奕宏  國際政治經濟學 副教授   國立交通大學

原刊於 2018年3月  <新台灣國策智庫> <http://braintrust.tw/%E5%B7%9D%E6%99%AE%E3%80%8C%E8%B2%BF%E6%98%93%E6%88%B0%E3%80%8D%E5%8D%9A%E5%A5%95%E7%9A%84%E6%87%A6%E5%A4%AB%E8%B3%BD%E5%B1%80/&gt;


    隨即三月初川普宣布將對進口美國的鋼鐵與鋁各課以25%及10%的關稅。首當其衝的並非是中國,而是美國的盟友,如加拿大、墨西哥、德國、日本、南韓、台灣等。在川普提出對鋼鋁課徵懲罰關稅的消息不久,白宮國家經濟會議首席顧問科恩(Gary Cohn)隨即宣布辭職,遂使川普身旁僅剩下貿易主戰派的白宮貿易顧問的經濟學者納瓦洛(Peter Navarro)及支持川普立場的商務部長羅斯(Wilbur Ross)。



    相同地,此次川普高舉關稅制裁似也是故計重施,目的在迫使對手國讓步。只是此次受到影響的相關國家,如歐盟、加、墨等國,皆宣稱將採取貿易報復以反制美國。這使得由川普發動的貿易糾紛形成博奕理論下的「懦夫賽局」(chicken game)。



    然而,從川普的角度分析,對進口鋼鋁課徵高關稅的舉措有兩項意義:首先,希望藉此迫使對美出口鋼鐵排名第一與第四的加拿大及墨西哥在目前陷於僵局中的北美自由貿易區(NAFTA)談判上讓步;其次是兌現川普對美國鐵鏽地帶(Rust Belt)工人選民的競選承諾,藉以挽回其近來下滑的支持度,並以資因應即將到來的期中選舉;第三是項莊舞劍、志在沛公地給對造成美國龐大貿易赤字的中國一個可信的警告,要求其採取有效措施來削減對美貿易順差。


    因此,川普近來在貿易政策上採取的強勢策略,無非是希望達成下列目的:1. 迫使對手國在貿易談判上讓步;2. 減少貿易赤字;3. 兌現競選承諾以動員選民支持,進以獲取此賽局的最佳結果。





邱奕宏  國立交通大學  國際政治經濟學 副教授

原載於 107年2月 <太平洋企業論壇簡訊>
< http://www.ctpecc.org.tw/publications/PECC-201802.pdf#C2  >


    去年3月美國貿易代表署(USTR)發佈「2017年貿易政策議程及2016年美國總統對貿易協定計畫年度報告」(2017 Trade Policy Agenda and 2016 Annual Report of the President of the United States on the Trade Agreements Program),其內容已很清楚地揭示美國優先下的貿易原則與目標。


    該報告亦列舉十項關鍵目標(key objectives):

  • 確保美國勞工及企業有公平的商業競爭機會—無論在美國國內或其他國外市場
  • 打破在其他市場阻撓美國出口的不公平貿易障礙,包括農產品出口。
  • 維持一個照顧美國經濟各層面利益的均衡政策,包括製造業、農業、服務業及小型企業與創業。
  • 確保美國智慧財產的持有者能有充分及公平的機會來使用及從其智慧財產中獲利。
  • 嚴格執行美國貿易法規,以避免美國市場因傾銷或遭補貼的進口產品而遭到扭曲,進而傷害美國本土企業與勞工,
  • 執行在既有條約中的勞工法規,並禁止對那些使用強迫勞工的進口及販賣的產品。
  • 抵禦由其他國家或如世界貿易組織的國際組織所發動,利用各種貿易條約中可能弱化美國的權利與利益,或增加美國之義務的一切努力。
  • 更新目前的貿易條約,以反映時代與市場條件的變化。
  • 確保美國貿易政策能有助於經濟實力的增長,與維持並改進美國國家安全的製造業根基。
  • 強力支持所有的美國勞工、農民、服務供應者及大型與小型企業,並確保在美國市場及世界其他市場都能享有美國利益的最公平待遇。















表一、2017年美國前十大貿易國家(1月至11月) 單位:十億美元

排名 國家 出口 進口 貿易總額 占對美貿易比例(%) 貿易赤字
1 中國 116.7 461.1 577.8 16.3% -344.4(1)
2 加拿大 259.2 274.5 533.7 15.0% -15.3(13)
3 墨西哥 223.3 289.0 512.2 14.4% -65.7(2)
4 日本 61.3 124.6 185.8 5.2% -63.3(3)
5 德國 48.6 107.0 155.6 4.4% -58.4(4)
6 南韓 43.8 65.4 109.2 3.1% -21.6(10)
7 英國 51.5 48.4 100.0 2.8% 3.1
8 法國 30.9 44.4 75.4 2.1% -13.5(14)
9 印度 23.3 45.0 68.3 1.9% -21.7(9)
10 台灣 23.4 39.0 62.4 1.8% -15.5(12)

資料來源:US Census Bureau, <https://www.census.gov/foreign-trade/statistics/highlights/toppartners.html&gt;


    究竟誰才是貿易保護主義者,筆者從構成貿易保護主義最主要的兩項政策手段—平均關稅的高低與非關稅貿易障礙(non-tariff barriers, NTBs)來分析相關國家以尋求解答。




國家 美國 中國 歐盟 日本 南韓 台灣 印度 加拿大 墨西哥
平均關稅 3.5% 9.9% 5.2% 4% 13.9% 6.4% 13.4% 4.1% 7%

資料來源:WTO Trade and tariff maps, https://www.wto.org/english/res_e/statis_e/statis_maps_e.htm


   其次,就非關稅貿易障礙而言,表三的2017年聯合國貿易暨發展會議(UNCTAD)之非關稅措施(NTM)資料庫的數據顯示,在衡量非關稅措施的非關稅措施的盛行度指標(prevalence score)上,美國相較於中國、歐盟、日本及加拿大較低,且美國在非關稅措施之涵蓋率(coverage ratio)及頻繁度(frequency index) [2]除較墨西哥為高外,皆比其他特定國家為低,顯示美國並非是運用非關稅措施來實行貿易保護主義最為嚴重的國家。




國家 美國 中國 歐盟 日本 印度 加拿大 墨西哥
頻繁度 62% 73% 94% 100% 100% 100% 41%
涵蓋率 75% 83% 92% 100% 100% 100% 54%
盛行度 6.4 8.8 10.4 9.1% 4.2 8.2 2.5

資料來源:UNCTAD, http://unctad.org/en/Pages/DITC/Trade-Analysis/Non-Tariff-Measures.aspx




















[1] Office off the United States Trade Representative, 2017 Trade Policy Agenda and 2016 Annual Report of the President of the United States on the Trade Agreements Program, March, 2017, pp. 1-6. <https://ustr.gov/about-us/policy-offices/press-office/reports-and-publications/2017/2017-trade-policy-agenda-and-2016&gt;

[2] 盛行度指標(prevalence score)是計算有多少非關稅措施被運用在特定的產品上;頻繁度指標(frequency index)計算非關稅措施的存在與否,記錄被非關稅措施影響的進口物品的比例;涵蓋率(coverage rate)是指非關稅措施涵蓋的貿易項目比例,並以進口物品的價值來加權。參閱:The World Bank, 2017, The Unseen Impact of Non-Tariff Measures: Insights from a new database, Washington, DC, p. 6. <http://unctad.org/meetings/en/SessionalDocuments/ditc-tab-MC11-UNCTAD-NTMs.pdf&gt;

[3] USTR website, <https://ustr.gov/countries-regions/japan-korea-apec/apec&gt;

[4] APEC Policy Support Union, “APEC in Charts 2017,” <https://www.apec.org/-/media/APEC/Publications/2017/11/APEC-in-Charts-2017/217_PSU_APEC-in-Charts-2017.pdf&gt;

[5] 經StatsAPEC 資料計算而得,<http://statistics.apec.org/&gt;

從達沃斯到華盛頓—論2018 年川普貿易政策與亞太貿易前景( 上)

邱奕宏  國立交通大學  國際政治經濟學 副教授

原載於 107年1月<太平洋企業論壇簡訊>
<http://www.ctpecc.org.tw/publications/PECC-201801.pdf#C2 >


在2018年1月23日至26日於瑞士達沃斯(Davos)舉行的年度「世界經濟論壇」(World Economic Forum, WEF),以「在分裂的世界中創造共享的未來」(Creating a Shared Future in a Fractured World)為主題,邀請來自多達70個國家領袖及38位主要國際組織的負責人,及來自企業界、學界與公民社會團體等共多達3000多人與會。[1]此一年一度匯聚全球政經界菁英人士的大拜拜活動,已逐漸成為許多國家領袖與商業大亨發表對全球政經前景看法及爭取國際鎂光燈曝光的最佳場合。









德國總理梅克爾在演說中則指出各國應記取20世紀兩次大戰的教訓,並強調多邊主義才是全球合作的解答。法國總統馬克洪則在演說中倡言「法國正重返歐洲核心」,並表示從未有「任何法國成功而沒有歐洲的成功」(any French success without a European success),以藉此呼應梅克爾重視多邊主義的演說,亦表達對歐盟堅定的支持。[6]出席的英國首相梅伊則在演說中宣稱,儘管脫歐,英國仍將持續作為自由貿易的全球倡導者,並尋求與世界各國制訂雙邊與多邊貿易條約。[7]

總體而言,與會的各國領袖大多持續對自由貿易與經濟全球化抱持正面與支持的看法。而被視為是挾反全球化及民粹主義風潮上台的美國總統川普,則是在一片由擁護自由貿易信徒所構成的達沃斯論壇中成為異數的黑天鵝。然而,自柯林頓總統後首度出席該論壇的美國總統川普,並未發表出人意料的演說,而是再度重申其「美國優先」(America First)的原則,與此不意味著「美國獨行」(America Alone)的意涵。

簡言之,川普此次演說所傳達最重要的訊息是:現在是投資美國的最佳時機,美國敞開大門歡迎商業,且美國重返競爭(America is open for business, and we are competitive once again)。換言之,他此行演說的最重要目的在於向全球商業領袖遊說,說明川普政府治下的美國,在通過租稅改革、大幅削減政府管制等措施後,已成為一個友善且有利投資的經商環境。此外,他也特別釐清「美國優先」並不代表「美國獨行」,他強調當美國經濟成長,全球經濟亦將隨之增長,美國經濟的繁榮將帶動全球的就業機會,並提升全球人民的生活福祉。

在貿易議題上,川普表示美國將尋求改革國際貿易體制,以更廣泛地促進共享的繁榮及獎勵那些遵守貿易規則的國家。如同先前的論調,他表示美國支持自由貿易,但必須是「公平且互惠」(it needs to be fair and it needs to be reciprocal)。他聲稱,美國將不再對那些不公平的經濟行為「視而不見」(blind eye),包括那些大量竊取智慧財產權、產業補貼及廣泛的國家領導的經濟計劃(state-led economic planning)。因此,他表示美國將執行其貿易法規並重振美國貿易體系的完整性(integrity),並認為只有堅持公平且互惠的貿易,才能創造一個對美國及所有國家有利的貿易體系。在對外貿易條約方面,川普則表示美國準備與所有國家,包涵TPP的國家,洽商互利的雙邊條約。[8]



[1] Fon Mathuros, “48th World Economic Forum Annual Meeting to See Unprecedented Engagement of Global Leaders,” Jan., 16, 2018, <https://www.weforum.org/press/2018/01/48th-world-economic-forum-annual-meeting-to-see-unprecedented-engagement-of-global-leaders/&gt;

[2] IMF, “Brighter Prospects, Optimistic Markets, Challenges Ahead,” World Economic Outlook Update, January 2018, <http://www.imf.org/en/Publications/WEO/Issues/2018/01/11/world-economic-outlook-update-january-2018&gt;

[3] US Census Bureau, “Trade in Goods with China,” <https://www.census.gov/foreign-trade/balance/c5700.html&gt;

[4] “Narendra Modi: These are the 3 greatest threats to civilization,” WEF 2018 website, <https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2018/01/narendra-modi-davos-these-are-the-3-greatest-threats-to-civilization/&gt;

[5] “What’s the deal with global trade? The view from Davos 2018,” WEF 2018 website, <https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2018/01/davos-2018-trade-trump-tpp-nafta/&gt;

[6] “Macron, Merkel, Mnuchin and Ma. Here’s your round-up of Davos Day 2,” WEF 2018 website, <https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2018/01/macron-merkel-mnuchin-ma-davos-day-2/&gt;

[7] “Theresa May’s Davos address in full,” WEF 2018 website, <https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2018/01/theresa-may-davos-address/&gt;

[8] “Remarks by President Trump to the World Economic Forum,” The White House website, <https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefings-statements/remarks-president-trump-world-economic-forum/&gt;

[9] “Read President Trump’s full remarks on trade deals to CNBC,” CNBC, Jan., 26, 2018, <https://www.cnbc.com/2018/01/26/president-trumps-full-remarks-on-nafta-tpp-in-cnbc-interview.html&gt;

Put national interests first in trade

Eric Chiou, Nov. 15, 2017  in Taipei Times

In the world of fierce competition among nations, an open and free global trade system is not self-evident, but hinges on steadfast support from some great powers that benefit from it.

Hence, no country should naively believe that nations have a sacred obligation to shoulder the responsibility of global economic growth by sacrificing their national interests and enduring aggravating trade deficits that hollow out their economic foundation and national capabilities.

Thankfully, US President Donald Trump’s administration has bravely hit the nail on the head and confronted this challenge, at least verbally.

Despite the fact that Trump’s protectionist tone has been heavily criticized by liberal economists and foreign leaders, it is irrefutable that the US’ comprehensive economic power might soon be surpassed by China’s economic clout, if the present trend of global economic imbalance continues.

Unfortunately, that is not only bad for the US, but also an undesirable consequence for the free world.  Full Text in Taipei Times (Link)




但另一方面,我們也看到支持自由貿易與反對保護主義的區域整合運動持續邁進。例如今年6月底在德國漢堡舉辦G20峰會,與會領袖發表聯合公報指出將持續堅守市場開放與打擊保護主義。緊接著日本─歐盟自由貿易協定(Japan-EU EPA)在7月初達成框架協定,隨後不久歐盟即宣布與加拿大簽署的全面性經濟與貿易協定(CETA)將於9月實施。在大型區域協定方面,TPP在美國退出下,其他11個成員國仍持續談判商討未來TPP-11的進展,並期望在年底完成談判。

此兩股相反的趨勢顯示,全球間促進經濟自由化與區域整合的力道,儘管在去年接連遭受英國脫歐與川普當選後貿易保護主義的重創,但並未因此消失匿跡。反而是各國在審時度勢後,仍有志一同地持續朝更自由開放的貿易環境迂迴前進,而不是陷入相互提高關稅、競相保護國內市場之以鄰為壑(bagger-thy-neighbor)的惡性循環。本文目的在分析受到川普衝擊下的亞太區域整合之近期發展。此外,受到川普貿易保護主義衝擊影響,此將迫使亞太各國進一步思考應如何面對缺乏美國領導的亞太經貿秩序。此類思考與反省不僅不會讓更多國家步入美國後塵而走向保護主義,反而激發更多的動機與努力來維繫自由開放的亞太經貿秩序。……全文刊於 APEC通訊,217期,民106年10月(PDF)

US protectionism is not working

Eric Chiou,  Oct. 9, 2017  in Taipei Times

This year has gradually revealed itself to be an exciting roller-coaster journey characterized by several astonishing ups and downs in the global economy.

The expected tsunami of trade protectionism, primarily stirred up by US President Donald Trump’s intriguing “America first” agenda and aggravated by the withdrawal of the UK from the EU — the so-called “Brexit” — has surprisingly not invoked broadly devastating effects on the global economy, nor has it undermined the solid direction of global free trade as many pundits expected.

Although Trump’s rhetoric of economic nationalism has not yet caused any conspicuous damage, compared with the remarkable progress of economic globalization in the past two decades, optimistic prospects for the world economy have been irrefutably overshadowed by a rising skepticism over globalization and the looming storm of trade protectionism, which has not been seen since the 1999 WTO protest in Seattle.

Trump’s “America first” agenda has mainly focused on job creation and a reduction of the trade deficit by encouraging manufacturing firms to shift their production back to the US and by renegotiating the terms of trade deals to be more favorable to the US, while wielding the stick of trade sanctions to accomplish the goal of boosting sales of US goods in overseas markets….Full Text in Taipei Times Link