China Times Editorial (Taipei, Taiwan, ROC)
April 28, 2015
Executive Summary: One Belt, One Road is the Mainland's new political and economic strategy. It is an attempt by the Mainland to integrate its economic policy with its good neighbor diplomacy. With the Mainland as core, this global strategy will reconnect the Eurasian continent. It will create the world's largest and most comprehensive strategic and economic integration zone, and limit US hegemony.
Full Text Below:
One Belt, One Road is the Mainland's new political and economic strategy. It is an attempt by the Mainland to integrate its economic policy with its good neighbor diplomacy. With the Mainland as core, this global strategy will reconnect the Eurasian continent. It will create the world's largest and most comprehensive strategic and economic integration zone, and limit US hegemony.
People on Taiwan have noticed the implications of the Mainland's One Belt, One Road strategy for Taiwan. But people in industry, government, and academia have yet to notice how its larger implications. The One Belt, One Road includes 26 countries in Asia, Africa, and Europe. It includes 4.4 billion people and involves 21 trillion US dollars. Within 10 years, it will invest 1.6 trillion US dollars in infrastructure, and exert a transnational investment multiplier effect. It offers Taiwan a new economic and industrial blue ocean. It expands cross-Strait economic relations. Taiwan must become part of the One Belt, One Road. The authorities on both sides of the Strait must acknowledge this.
Taiwan exports have grown less than 3% for three consecutive years. Slow export growth is unusual for Taiwan. Exports from Taiwan to the Mainland, the United States, Europe, and ASEAN, have peaked. Clinging to the old ways will only make economic growth impossible.
Taiwan Semiconductor and the ICT industry caught the wireless communications wave. Otherwise Taiwan exports would not have grown at all. Taiwan's domestic market is too small. To expand Taiwan's economy, new export channels must be found. The appearance of "One Belt, One Road" at this moment, has presented Taiwan with a "new blue ocean".
Key Factor One. Taiwan exports little to countries along the Silk Road in Central Asia, West Asia, and South Asia. India accounts for 1% of Taiwan's total exports. Altogether, the other regions account for less than 1%. Taiwan tried to establish trade relations with these countries through Russia, but never got anywhere. Expanding trade was difficult, so Taiwan gave up. But connect with these countries with an overland Silk Road, and they could become an export market for Taiwan. Investments in the Silk Road will facilitate the use of local resources and increase cost competitiveness in new markets, and become a source of consumer exports. Controlling this vast infrastructure supply chain will enable one to address the biggest gap in Taiwan's export growth.
Key Factor Two. In recent years, Taiwan has been exporting more to ASEAN and investing more in ASEAN. But Taiwan is dependent upon Singapore as a hub for ASEAN exports and investment. Taiwan has a number of important foundries in ASEAN countries. But it has never actually entered the ASEAN internal market. At most it has established OEM bases outside Mainland China. The Fujian Free Trade Zone, the start point of the Maritime Silk Road, offers cost and geographic advantages. It provides a new entry point into the ASEAN internal market, one that could be the prime mover in Taiwan's development of the Asia Pacific market.
One aspect of the One Belt, One Road should concern Taiwan. Both the terrestrial Silk Road and the maritime Silk Road bypass Taiwan. Once the One Belt, One Road is completed, Taiwan will be economically isolated from ten of millions of people. The Taiwan economy will suffer irreparable harm. Failure to actively participate in One Belt, One Road amounts to self-isolation. Taipei and Bejing must seek a swift solution. Taipei in particular, must seek a breakthrough in strategic thinking.
Both the terrestrial Silk Route and maritime Silk Route affect Taiwan. To participate in One Belt, One Road business opportunities, we must increase cooperation with the Tianjin Free Trade Zone and Fujian Free Trade Zone. This is the most effective way to participate in One Belt, One Road.
First of all, the Tianjin Free Trade Zone has just begun operation. It is the closest point to the beginning of the Silk Road in Xi'an. It is a northern Chinese city important to Taiwan industriies. If the Taiwan Free Trade Zone and Tianjin Free Trade Zone can be integrated into a free trade system, Taiwan industry will be able to connect to them. They would not be subject to tariffs, and would benefit the most from the supply chain.
The Fujian Free Trade Zone is the starting point for the Maritime Silk Road. It is the Mainland's Free Trade Zone connection to Taiwan. Combining Taiwan's Free Trade Zone with Fujian's Free Trade zone will turn Taiwan into another starting point for the Maritime Silk Road. Taiwan could take advantage of the Free Trade Zone, linking its trade to Amsterdam. This is the geographical advantage Taiwan enjoys.
The geographical advantages are great. The authorities only have to give it the nod. Taiwan will then be able to circumvent obstacles to ECFA. Taiwan Free Trade Zones can then link up with Mainland Free Trade Zones. This would open up a second channel for Taiwan's participation in One Belt, One Road, and become the ideal way to connect with the terrestrial Silk Road and the Maritime Silk Road.
One Belt, One Road will be the world's largest economic link over the next decade. Taiwan must have the courage and confidence to participate.
標示中國大陸企圖藉著經濟整合為經，外交敦親睦鄰為緯， 建構以中國為核心的全球戰略棋盤，將歐亞大陸重新連結， 形成全球跨度最大、縱深最長的經濟整合及戰略地帶， 進而擠壓美國的霸權地位。
但是產官學界都沒有意識到，「一帶一路」沿線經過亞非歐26國， 合計44億人口、21兆美元經濟規模，10年內將在基建投資1. 6兆元的大商機，以及其帶來的跨國投資乘數效果， 對台灣未來經濟儼然就是一個「經濟產業的新藍海」， 也是深化兩岸經濟關係的有效觸媒。兩岸當局要正視台灣參與「 一帶一路」的重要性。
台灣出口成長已幾近枯竭。受限內需市場過小，台灣經濟要成長， 勢必要在出口找到新的出路，此時「一帶一路」的出現， 可說正好為台灣經濟產業開拓「新藍海」鋪了前路。
皆為台灣出口極少的國家地區，包括中、西亞和南亞， 其中除了印度占台灣出口比重達1%外， 台灣對此地區的其他國家出口總和比重都低於1%。 過去台灣曾一度想透過俄羅斯的途徑與這些國家地區建構新的貿易關 係，均不得其門而入，難以達到拓展貿易的效果，因而半途而廢。 但若能透過陸上絲路串連這些國家的出口，就是台灣的一個新市場， 透過對陸上絲路的投資，即可運用在地資源， 強化對這一新市場的成本競爭力，不僅是消費產品出口動能來源， 只要掌握龐大的基建供應鏈連結， 就足以補足台灣出口成長的最大缺口。
但是台灣現在是依賴新加坡作為台灣進入東協的樞紐， 台灣在東協國家固然布局了一些重要的產業代工， 但始終沒有真正的進入東協內部市場， 充其量只是布局了中國大陸以外的代工基地而已。 因而透過由福建自貿區起點的海上絲路， 則可創造另一個成本與地緣優勢， 由全新的經濟視野切進東協的內部市場， 將其形容為是台灣開拓亞太市場的最大引擎亦不為過。
不難發現不論在陸上絲路或海上絲路的連結， 中國大陸都繞過了台灣，倘使「一帶一路」成功完成經戰略的連結， 台灣就將面臨另外一個孤立於十數億人口的經濟版圖， 這將對台灣未來經濟造成不可彌補的危害！不積極參與「一帶一路」 形同自我封閉，兩岸應加快找出解決之道，台灣尤其須在「 找尋突破口」上思考戰略出路。
而要想參與「一帶一路」的商機， 勢必要由擴大與中國大陸天津自貿區和福建自貿區的合作， 作為有效參與「一帶一路」的最佳突破點。
是距陸上絲路起點西安最短的捷徑， 也是近年台灣產業在華北地區布局的重鎮， 因此若能將台灣自經區與天津自貿區連成一體的「自貿體系」， 台灣產業就可在兩個直接相通、沒有關稅障礙的新形勢下， 取得陸上絲路基建供應鏈的絕對優勢。
又是大陸針對台灣所連結的自貿區， 若將台灣自經區與福建自貿區融合於一體， 則形同打造台灣成為海上絲路的另類起點，台灣可藉自貿區的優勢， 將貿易連結到歐陸的阿姆斯特丹，這是台灣的地緣之便。