Trade and Globalisation

Policy briefs

EU trade diplomacy and the cold peace in cross-Strait relations

09 Nov 2016 - 16:09
Source: NASA/flickr

Today’s uncertainty in cross-Strait relations is not without consequence for third parties that maintain ties with both China and Taiwan. To what extent does (and should) the situation also impact on EU’s trade diplomacy with both sides? This policy brief argues that under today’s circumstances, the cold peace in cross-Strait relations is reason to tread carefully — and to stay on course.

The May 2016 inauguration of the Taiwanese government led by Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) leader Tsai Ing-wen placed a big question mark over the future of cross-Strait relations. Within weeks, Beijing had unilaterally imposed a freeze on (semi-)official talks until the new Taiwanese President acknowledges the so-called 1992 Consensus.

While confirming its ‘one China’ policy, the EU may contribute to the stability of cross-Strait relations by being a partner in China’s economic reform and by negotiating EU–China and EU–Taiwan investment agreements in parallel.

In this policy brief author Maaike Okano-Heijmans builds on discussions during the 13th Symposium on ‘Sino–EU Relations and the Taiwan Question’, which was held in Shanghai from 9–11 October 2016 and in Taipei from 12–14 October 2016. These second-track dialogues were supported by the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, the Shanghai Institute of International Studies and the Taiwanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The agenda of the dialogue and further details are available on the website of the Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik (SWP), Berlin.