The current administration running the show here in Taiwan has done a lot in just a short period of time to muck things up in the key relationships with the United States and Japan. However, in at least one area, the three countries have found common ground. From the Daily Yomiuri ザ・デイリー読売 comes "Japan seeks WTO solution to EU tariff issue Taiwan, U.S. also to request world trade body to abolish duties on IT products" http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/dy/business/20080821TDY08308.htm. Some excerpts:
"Japan, Taiwan and the United States will ask the World Trade Organization 世界貿易機関 on Aug. 29 to set up a panel charged with resolving the dispute over high tariffs imposed by the European Union 欧州連合 on information technology imports to the EU market...Tōkyō, T'aipei and Washington have insisted that the EU's tariff policy toward IT equipment imports, which they consider to be unfairly high, violates a WTO agreement...Japan, Taiwan and the United States have been at odds with the EU over its tariffs on three import items: liquid crystal display (LCD) monitors for computers, which can also be used for watching TV programs; all-in-one printers, which function as photocopiers, fax machines and scanners; and set-top boxes, which are used for converting signals for TV such as cable TV programs. Tōkyō, Washington and T'aipei have imposed no tariffs on these three items under the WTO accord, which treats IT-related equipment imports as nontariff items. However, the EU has imposed a 14 percent tariff on imported LCD monitors, a 6 percent tariff on all-in-one printers and a 13.9 percent tariff on set-top boxes. The EU's tariff policy is based on its own assumption that LCD monitors are comparable to TV sets, and all-in-one printers to copying machines. The EU treats the three import items as home electrical appliances, meaning considerably higher tariffs are imposed on them...The WTO is expected to establish a panel, as sought by Tōkyō, T'aipei and Washington, as early as September. But it likely will take the panel about two years to settle the dispute..."
No matter what else happens, the Europeans will always be there to gang up on!
And it looks like Mr. Ma has finally settled on someone to take over the post of Taiwan's top representative to Japan (rom the Japan Times ジャパンタイムズ"Taiwan appoints Feng top envoy to Japan" http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20080821a8.html):
"The Taiwanese Foreign Ministry announced Tuesday the appointment of John Feng, an experienced diplomat and ruling Nationalist Party 中国国民党 heavyweight, as the island's top representative to Japan. The appointment of 62-year-old Feng to head the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office 台北経済文化代表処 — Taiwan's de facto embassy in Tōkyō 東京 in the absence of formal bilateral relations — ended weeks of speculation as to who would fill the post and when. The post has been vacant since Koh Se-kai 許世楷 resigned last month following a diplomatic row between T'aipei and Tōkyō over the sinking of a Taiwanese fishing boat after it was struck by a Japan Coast Guard 海上保安庁 vessel near the disputed, Japan-controlled, Senkaku Islands 尖閣諸島 in the East China Sea."
About bloody time.