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Taiwan Provides US$515 million in International Assistance Last Year

Sep 26, 2008, 6:22 AM | Article By: Nfamara Jawneh

Figures from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the OECD show that Taiwan provided US$515 million in international assistance last year, accounting for 0.13 percent of its GDP, while advanced and developed countries averaged 0.28 percent of GDP in foreign aid expenditures. Reports monitored by The Point reveal.

The source went further to say thatTaiwan should seek to bolster diplomatic ties with developing nations via the "Aid for Trade" initiative espoused by the WTO in 2005, the Council for Economic Planning and Development (CEPD) said recently.
Since the initiative was proposed at a WTO ministerial meeting in Hong Kong in December 2005, the world's major economic powers, including Japan, the US and the EU, have committed themselves to giving financial aid via multilateral mechanisms such as the WTO and the World Bank to help developing or least developed countries expand business opportunities and trade prospects, said a CEPD official who declined to be named.

Taiwan should go with the trend to use this 'Aid for Trade' initiative to increase bilateral cooperation and build mutual trust with other nations, whether or not they maintain formal diplomatic relations with the country," the official said. "By doing so, the nation can also materialize President Ma Ying-jeou's 'modus vivendi' diplomatic strategy."
Ma, who took office on May 20, has been touting his "modus vivendi" diplomatic strategy to seek more international space for
Taiwan. Ma has said the goal of the approach is to safeguard Taiwan's rights while consolidating diplomatic relations with its allies and restoring mutual trust with countries that heavily influence Taiwan even in the absence of formal diplomatic ties.
Taiwan is a full WTO member.
The WTO-initiated "Aid for Trade" program helps developing countries, and least developed countries in particular, to build the trade capacity and infrastructure they need to benefit from trade openings.
Part of the program for overall Official Development Assistance (ODA) - grants and concessional loans that key member countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) have been working on over the past several years - "Aid for Trade" targets trade-related programs and projects.
It is designed mainly to help the world's 40 to 50 least-developed countries to develop convenient and speedy trade systems, including nurturing customs officials and officials for international trade negotiations; lowering cross-border trade barriers and strengthening infrastructure development relevant to international trade, such as the development of port facilities and highways, the official said.
Taiwan has made significant contributions in the international domain, offering training in trade facilitation and customs procedures to less-developed countries, as well as helping improve their port facilities, he said.
Taiwan has accumulated rich experience and know-how after decades of providing assistance to its diplomatic allies - efforts that include providing consultancy services for small and medium-sized enterprises, vocational training, agricultural and fishery aid and aid to help the country's allies build their own telecommunication and other high-technology infrastructure, he said.