Taiwan in turmoil over preferred lists
Will the government go for the WTO or for the USA?
The island of Taiwan is preparing itself for further pressure from Red China by preparing lists of foreign companies it favours as potential investors. At the end of next year, the tiny peninsula of Macau will be relinquished by the Portuguese to the authorities on the mainland, in the wake of frenzied gang attacks by triads. But sources in the island of Taiwan claim that the island still does not want to be part of Red China, despite sabre rattling from the authorities in Beijing. Taiwan's Ministry of Economic Affairs and its Ministry of Foreign Affairs are, according to the same source, producing lists of foreign firms which could be interested in investing in the island. Those which are on the "A" list get preferential treatment but the two government ministries are at daggers drawn over the different companies. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has a preferential list of companies which is strategy based. It wants companies to help Taiwan join the World Trade Organisation. The other government department's list is based on technology transfers which could or even might be accomplished. The prime minister and his cabinet are currently mulling over which of the two government departments will get the green light. But according to our correspondent on the island, it is the Ministry of Foreign Affairs which could well win. IT companies are understood to be those preferred by Taiwan's PM. The whole issue is complicated by the fact that Red China and President Clinton appear to be close on the issue of Taiwan, while Japan and many other Far Eastern and South East Asia governments differ substantially, as well as in trade terms. When Clinton visited the region earlier this year, he said that Taiwan was a part of Red China. ®