Taiwan and Central America: Trade and Diplomacy

Seven years after diplomatic ties broke, Costa Rica is Taiwan's main trading partner in the region, with $644 million traded in 2013.

Friday, July 25, 2014

It seems that maintaining healthy diplomatic and political relations between governments is not always necessary for trade between two nations to prosper. One example is the bilateral trade between Taiwan and Costa Rica, which despite the fact that it is the only country in Central America to have broken political links with the Asian island, remains its main trading partner in the region.

Ticotimes.net reports that "In 2013, trade between Taiwan and Costa Rica reached $644 million, according to figures from the island's Bureau of Foreign Trade. Costa Ricans bought $126 million in electronics, computer equipment and other products 'Made in Taiwan', while Costa Rican sales to the island, mainly of coffee, were worth $539 million."

In 2012, Taiwan's trade with Panama, Guatemala, Nicaragua, El Salvador and Honduras - with whom it has free trade agreements totaled $778 million, an increase of 107% compared to 2003.

"...Guatemala ... mainly imported petrochemicals, plastics, textiles and motorcycle parts from Taiwan. In exchange it exports sugar cane, coffee, seafood and textiles. The case of Honduras is similar, which also imports Taiwanese steel and auto parts and exports frozen beef. "

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When the Free Trade Agreement was signed in 2003 sales to the Asian island by Panama totaled $11.7 million, whereas in 2010 they reached $44.8 million.

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Eugenia Yang, the economic counselor at the country’s Taiwanese diplomatic headquarters, informed Laprensagrafica com: "During the initial months, the first product to enter the market was coffee.

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A trade mission composed of representatives from 22 companies in different industries met with Salvadoran businesspeople.

German Rivas wrote in Laprensagrafica.com: "’The advantage that Salvadoran exporters have taken of the free trade agreement with Taiwan is still 'timid' after 10 months of it having come into force,’ said the Taiwanese ambassador in the country, Carlos Liao.

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From March to August of this year, El Salvador increase its exports to Taiwan by 79%, Eugenia Yang, economic adviser at the Taiwanese Embassy in the country, reported.

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