Participation in International Bodies
- Source:Ministry of Foreign Affairs
As the world’s 25th-largest economy in 2009 and a staunch champion of freedom and human rights, the ROC has much of value to contribute to the global community. Currently, it has full membership in 31 intergovernmental organizations (IGO) and their subsidiary bodies. These include the Asian Development Bank; the World Trade Organization (WTO), which Taiwan joined under the name “Separate Customs Territory of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu”; and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum, in which it participates as “Chinese Taipei”—a name the country also uses for its national Olympics committee and in the World Health Assembly (WHA). In addition, the ROC has observer status or associate membership in 20 other IGOs or their subsidiary bodies.
By participating in these organizations, the ROC seeks not only to defend the rights and interests of its people, but also to forge friendships with other nations and develop initiatives that benefit the world at large.
In the spirit of flexible diplomacy, the ROC’s U.N.-related initiatives focus on meaningful participation in U.N. specialized agencies and mechanisms that address issues of importance to the welfare of its people and its national development.
The ROC government’s adoption of such a rational, pragmatic approach over the past two years has enabled it to make progress vis-à-vis participation in international forums. In particular, Taiwan was invited to attend the WHA meeting as an observer in 2009 and 2010.
The government is following the same approach in seeking participation in other U.N. specialized agencies and mechanisms, with particular focus on the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and activities under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
Since announcing these goals in September 2009, the ROC has received substantive international support. Many of its diplomatic partners have sent letters to the ICAO secretary-general and the UNFCCC executive secretary in support of its meaningful and direct participation in their activities, while numerous parliamentary bodies—including the European Parliament and the Australian Senate— have passed supportive resolutions.
The level of international backing accorded the ROC is encouraging and highly appreciated. It is hoped that a growing international consensus on the importance and desirability of the ROC’s participation in affaris of the ICAO and UNFCCC Conference of the Parties will enable it to gain observer status in these bodies in the near future.
In June 2010, Environmental Protection Administration (行政院環境保護署) Minister Shen Shu-hung (沈世宏) informed the UNFCCC Secretariat that the ROC will take concrete measures to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by at least 30 percent relative to the “business-as-usual” (BAU) benchmark before 2020. In recognition of such responsibility and efforts to fulfill it, it is imperative that the ROC be accorded observer status in the UNFCCC Conference of the Parties, thereby enabling it to more effectively contribute to the work of combating global warming and responding to the challenges it poses.
World Trade Organization
Since its accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2002, the ROC has faithfully implemented its obligations under WTO rules and, through its permanent mission based at the WTO headquarters in Geneva, has continued to participate actively in the Doha Development Agenda (DDA) negotiations. The ROC became the 41st signatory to the plurilateral Agreement on Government Procurement on July 15, 2009. Later that year, the ROC attended the 7th WTO Ministerial Conference, where it took the opportunity to reiterate the need for a prompt, substantial and balanced conclusion of the DDA round of trade talks to re-energize global economic growth.
In line with the organization’s Transparency Mechanism, the government presented a comprehensive picture of its trade policies and practices at the conference. And in July 2010, the ROC passed the second Trade Policy Review conducted by the WTO Trade Policy Review Body.
As a supporter of the WTO’s Aid for Trade initiative, the ROC advocates that national development factors should be considered in all DDA negotiations. In order to help developing countries and “least developed countries” (LDC) to participate in the multilateral trading system, the ROC contributed to the Special Trust Fund to subsidize travel costs of LDC delegations taking part in the 7th Ministerial Conference and has continued to provide LDCs with technical assistance and capacity building programs under the WTO Integrated Framework.
Further, the ROC has endeavored to engage in trade talks on all fronts by joining various negotiating subgroups, such as the Group of Recently Acceded Members, the Group of 10 and the Friends of Anti-dumping Negotiations to achieve common goals.
With the aim of encouraging a better understanding of the WTO in the ROC and providing training to its officials regarding WTO issues, in August 2010 the ROC conducted seminars on trade in services and on trade and development in collaboration with the WTO Secretariat.
In addition, together with the United States and Japan, in 2008 the ROC filed a suit with the organization’s Dispute Settlement Body (DSB) against the group of WTO members known as the “European Community and its Member States” (ECMS) regarding the group’s tariff treatment of imports of certain information technology products. The DSB panel established to hear the case adopted a final report on September 21, 2010 confirming that the ECMS had violated its obligations under WTO rules and that tariffs imposed on the products in question must be abolished.
Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation
Since joining APEC in 1991, the ROC has been working closely with its fellow APEC member economies to promote sustained economic growth through commitments to free and open trade, investment liberalization and facilitation, and economic reform in the Asia-Pacific region. It has played a proactive role in APEC subgroups’ meetings and activities in numerous realms: agricultural technology, fishery and marine resource conservation, human resource development, intellectual property rights protection, telecommunications and information, development of small and medium-sized enterprises (SME), tourism, energy efficiency, public health, emergency preparedness, climate change, anti-corruption and counterterrorism.
Between 2004 and mid-2010, 56 ROC-sponsored APEC Digital Opportunity Centers trained over 100,000 people in 10 countries, many of whom are playing important roles in bridging the “digital divide” in their countries. By the end of 2010, the number of centers is expected to increase to 60.
President Ma designated former Vice President Lien Chan(連戰) as his representative to the APEC Economic Leaders’ Meetings held in Lima (2008), Singapore (2009) and Yokohama (2010). Lien is the highest-ranking former official to have attended the meeting in the president’s stead since the nation joined this multilateral economic and trade forum.
In 2009, the ROC participated in over 200 APEC activities and hosted 23 APEC-related meetings and workshops. Its hosting of the Workshop on the Framework of Long-Term Capacity Building for Disaster Risk Reduction as well as its initiative to establish the APEC Small and Medium Enterprise Crisis Management Center were commended in the 2009 APEC Ministerial Meeting’s joint statement. The center was inaugurated in Taipei in May 2010 on the heels of the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC) meeting held there May 17-21. More than 170 delegates from APEC’s 21 member economies attended the ABAC meeting to address issues relating to regional economic integration, balanced and inclusive growth and sustainable development.