The Competition Between Tigers

Three decades ago, Taiwan and South Korea were twin tiger economies, the forerunners of a new Asian economic miracle. Today, however, Taiwan is lagging well behind its northern neighbor and arch-rival in global indices. Why? It is tempting to attribute Taiwan's gradual loss of competitiveness against South Korea to the island's diplomatic isolation as a rogue Chinese province. After all, unlike the Koreans, who have signed free trade agreements with Chile, India, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and the European Union plus a pending one with the US, the export-reliant Taiwanese, thwarted by Beijing's clout, can’t just go about signing free trade pacts with whomever they please.

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