Really Going WTO?  (c) Simon Xi Zhang, 2002



Before Taiwan and China becomes coequal members to WTO, investment and trade across the Taiwan Strait was largely conducted one-way, and had to be indirectly. It was because Taiwan enforced a complicated set of special laws and regulations governing cross-strait relations. It worked no good to Taiwan's interest. Notwithstanding various restrictions, interdependence between Taiwan and China of their respective economic developments has increased year by year. Until now, the cross-strait trade is special in itself as largely dependent on investment.

In preparation for parallel accession to WTO, Taiwan revises its laws and adopts new measures involving economic and trade relations with mainland China. This is beneficial to both Taiwanese business and mainland economy. However, the legislation revision is not thorough enough because many WTO-incompatible measures are still preserved. Taiwanese Government will further face problems caused by increasing mainland imports. To resolve these problems renders a challenge to Taiwan because not only they are new in the sense not being related to or consistent with investment from Taiwan to China, but also Taiwan should address problems in ways as consistent to WTO requirements as possible.

Even though China will continue be subject to discriminative treatment by Taiwan, notwithstanding available dispute settlement measures, China will not utilize WTO mechanism resolving its dispute vis-à-vis Taiwan. Currently, Taiwan tends to take advantage of its parallel WTO membership with China. Practically speaking, it is still an unknown issue that to what extent WTO can help to liberalize economic relations and to promote free trade across the Taiwan Strait.