TOC Global Taiwan Brief, Vol. 7, Issue 15 (2022)

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(This issue was originally published on the Global Taiwan Institute's website and the full articles are available at:

Editor's Column
The DPP’s 20th Central Executive Committee Election Clears a Pathway for William Lai’s 2024 Run

By: Russell Hsiao

On July 17, Taiwan’s ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP, 民進黨) held its annual National Party Congress and announced the results of its biennial election for its 30-member Central Executive Committee (CEC, 中執委), which in turn selects the powerful 10-member Central Standing Committee (CSC, 中常委). The composition of these two bodies and still more importantly, the factional affiliation of its members, are a reflection of the influence of the various political cliques that have competed for power and influence within the party since its inception. While the confab was presented as an opportunity to mobilize party support and readiness for the DPP’s campaign for the local elections this November, the more interesting and significant development came from the internal party elections of its executive bodies. 

Reducing Taiwan’s Dependence on the Chinese-Dominated Market for Rare Earth Elements
By: Alayna Bone

In an international environment fraught with geoeconomic uncertainty caused by the global pandemic, trade disputes, and war in Eastern Europe, the supply of rare earth elements (REEs)—a set of 17 elements that are critical to the manufacturing of high-tech products—are increasingly at the forefront of concerns over supply chain risks across the globe. The importance of REEs was clearly reflected in the recent US-led Supply Chain Ministerial Forum to strengthen interstate cooperation in alleviating near-term disruptions and building long-term supply chain resiliency for critical minerals. This challenge stems in part from over 20 years of unsuccessful attempts by other global powers to match China’s industry positioning in the REE sector. Despite being a comparatively small consumer, Taiwan’s dependence on the stability of the international rare earth market makes its most strategic sectors extremely vulnerable to Chinese market manipulation. Nonetheless, Taiwan can still take steps to secure its rare earths supply, decrease its own import reliance, and become more self-sufficient. 
The CCP’s 14th Straits Forum and United Front Outreach to “Taiwan Youth”
By: John Dotson

From July 11-13, the “14th Cross-Strait Forum” (第十四屆海峽論壇) was convened in the city of Xiamen, in China’s Fujian Province. First held in 2009, the Cross-Strait Forum is a yearly conference that serves as a centerpiece of the People’s Republic of China’s (PRC) calendar of united front outreach events directed at individuals and groups in Taiwan. The 2021 forum was delayed until December due to complications following from the COVID-19 pandemic, but this year’s event was back on track for its normal spring-summer timeframe, well in advance of the PRC’s major political events expected to be held later this year. 
Lithuania’s Confrontation with China Over Taiwan: Lessons from a Small Country
By: Tomas Janeliūnas and Raigirdas Boruta

Last year, Lithuania became one of the primary targets of Chinese propaganda and trade sanctions. The ongoing Sino-Lithuanian diplomatic standoff should not come as a major surprise, as Lithuania caused great outrage in China in November 2021, when it allowed Taiwan to open a new representative office in Vilnius. The office was notable for its bold choice of names: rather than the typical “Taipei Representative Office,” the office was officially dubbed the “Taiwanese Representative Office in Vilnius” (駐立陶宛台灣代表處). Such a move was significant, as it marked the first opening of a new Taiwan representative office in Europe in 18 years (the last office opened in 2003 in Slovakia); as well as the second such office to exist under the name “Taiwanese” in the world, after Somaliland. 

Subnational Economic Partnerships in Semiconductor Manufacturing Point the Way for Deepening US-Taiwan Ties
By: Roman Shemakov

Taiwan is one of the United States’ most reliable economic partners. Taipei maintains a USD $600 billion gross domestic product (GDP) and was the United States’ 9th largest trading partner in 2020 (with USD $90.6 billion in total goods traded during 2020). According to the Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR), Taiwan imported USD $30.2 billion worth of American goods in 2020 (including machinery, optical instruments, and agricultural products); this was a 16 percent increase from 2010, and represents 2.1 percent of total US exports. Simultaneously, Taiwanese firms are responsible for 60 percent of the global semiconductor supply, a fundamental component in phone, computer, and car manufacturing. Due to semiconductor shortages in 2021, firms ranging from General Motors to Apple were forced to significantly curtail production. The United States is currently considering national legislation to improve domestic semiconductor supply. 

* The views and opinions expressed in these articles are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Global Taiwan Institute.

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