Panama Cuts Ties With Taiwan Panama switched diplomatic recognition from Taipei to Beijing, the latest in a series of developments that further isolate Taiwan on the global stage. Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela cited “economic interests” as the incentive to sever the diplomatic ties. In response, Taiwan plans to halt all bilateral cooperative projects and…

Export Recovery Fuels Higher GDP Growth Optimism regarding Taiwan’s economy is rising alongside trade figures as the island continues to benefit from the ongoing recovery in the global economy. Nearly all of the local economic analytics firms have raised their forecasts for GDP growth for 2017, with Academia Sinica, Taiwan’s top academic research institution, coming…

Improvement Seen in 2017 Outlook Economists are increasingly bullish on Taiwan’s growth prospects through 2017, with three local forecasting organizations raising GDP growth projections to over 2% for the year. The Chung-Hua Institution for Economic Research (CIER) announced on April 19 that it had raised its forecast from 1.73% to 2.11%. “The stronger-than-expected momentum of…

Taiwan Human Rights Advocate Held in China While on a trip to China, Taiwanese human rights advocate Lee Ming-che was seized by the authorities on March 19 and held incommunicado before China finally announced that he had been arrested for “activities endangering national security,” according to media reports. As of press time, Lee, an instructor…

New Infrastructure Plan to Boost Economy Premier Lin Chuan on March 23 unveiled a NT$880 billion (US$28.9 billion) infrastructure stimulus plan, dubbed the Forward-looking Infrastructure Program (FIP). It aims to build capacity in such sectors as the digital infrastructure, railways, renewable energy, urban-rural development, and water resources. On March 28, speaking at a station on…

U.S. Frigates Join Navy. More on the Way? The Taiwan Navy took possession of two refurbished U.S. Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigates on March 16 at a cost of around US$190 million. The two frigates are equipped with AN/SQR-19 Multi-Function Towed Array Sonar (TACTAS), a system for the long-range passive detection of enemy submarines which was…