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Taiwan Gets a Boost from S&P

Posted by: Bruce Einhorn on April 11, 2008

The election of Ma Ying-jeou as Taiwan’s president might be starting to pay off for the Taiwanese economy. Ma recovered the presidency for the Kuomintang last month after pledging to improve ties with Beijing, ties that had suffered during the eight years under Chen Shui-bian, whom the Chinese detest because of his pro-Taiwanese indepenence leanings. Ma won in a landslide and today Standard & Poor’s (like BW, owned by McGraw-Hill) upgraded the outlook on Taiwan’s long-term credit rating from negative to stable. A key factor in the change, according to S&P, is the “diminishing risk of cross-straits tension.”

Beijing-Taipei ties might get another boost this weekend. China is hosting its annual Boao Forum, a Davos-like gathering of political and business leaders in Hainan (the big island in the South China Sea to the east of Vietnam) and there’s a good chance that Taiwan’s vice-president-elect, Vincent Siew, will meet Chinese President Hu Jintao at the meeting. That, in the words of AFP, “what would be the highest-level contact ever between Beijing and Taipei.”

At a time when the Olympic torch relay is under seige in the West and politicians including Hillary Clinton are calling for a boycott of the opening ceremony of the Beijing games to protest China’s policies in Tibet, Beijing could sure use a bit of good news from Taiwan. The Taiwanese are still at a big disadvantage when negotiating with the mainland, of course, but Beijing’s current difficulties might provide Ma’s new government with a bit of leverage.

Reader Comments

Free Tibet

April 11, 2008 12:47 PM

Free Willy! Free Tibet! Free Kashmir! Free CA & TX! Free Starbucks! and Most important of all, Free IRS Income and State Income tax!


April 11, 2008 11:16 PM

What kind of difficulties mainland is facing? except the world economy is in big chaos (leading by US), nothing else.

China, as such a large country and such as big economy, her development largely depends on herself. What is the boycott western countries can do? The only thing they can do is leaders don't participate the opening ceremony. But Chinese leaders never took part in that events when the games were hold in other countries. No big deal at all.

The torch relay in SF showing that Chinese gov enjoys big support from Chinese. The Olympic games are now becoming a turning point in Chinese history: China is now politically united!! This will scare those China-bashers.

Ma, as the leader in Taiwan, does not have too much choices.


April 12, 2008 2:39 AM

China and Taiwan will reconcile under Ma's presidency. Taiwan has become too dependent on China. It would be stupid for Taiwanese business not to use this historical opportunity.

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Bloomberg Businessweek’s team of Asia reporters brings you the latest insights on business, politics, technology and culture from some of the world’s biggest and fastest-growing economies.

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