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TAIWAN AND EUROPE AFTER BREXIT – GROWING CLOSER OR DRIFTING APART?

Reilly, Michael 麥瑞禮

2019 Taiwan Fellowship Scholar

Field of Study:

No:

Date:2020/1/22

Abstract:

This paper considers the prospects for relations between Taiwan and the EU and the UK after Brexit. It does so by first considering briefly the history of relations between the two sides in recent decades and suggests that these were affected by a degree of mutual mistrust that may have acted to inhibit closer relations. It argues that what Taiwan values most in its international relations is a strong trading relationship and security guarantees, but geo-political factors will make both the EU and UK reluctant to sign trade agreements or offer anything firmer by way of security commitments. It therefore recommends that Taiwan should make accession to the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership its over-riding trade objective as wider developments in trade policy may lead to this being aligned with the EU. Neither the EU nor the UK are likely to have the capacity or will to consider any major changes in their relations with Taiwan given other priorities and preoccupations for both. Outside the EU, the UK will lack both leverage and resources to develop its policy towards Taiwan. But there are many smaller steps that the EU, UK and Taiwan can all take to develop relations. Ultimately, whether these are taken will depend on political will.