China twists the screws on Taiwan

China has extended a review into Taiwanese trade practices for another three months until 12 January, a day before Taiwan’s presidential election.

China first launched the investigation in April, saying Taiwan had “imposed unilateral restrictions on the import of over 2,400 Chinese mainland products, which has harmed the interests of industries and companies there.”

Beijing says it’s extended its probe due to the “complexity” of the case.

But Taiwan says it’s all a gambit to interfere in its elections: if China opts to pursue the maximum trade penalty and suspend cross-strait arrangements, this could seriously damage Taiwan’s economy; and that knowledge could nudge Taiwanese voters to choose a more Beijing-friendly candidate.

Intrigue’s take: When Taiwan and China signed their 2010 trade pact (the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement), it was a landmark moment for cross-strait cooperation.

At the time, China hoped the deal would earn it some goodwill ahead of the island’s eventual unification with the mainland. But we’re no closer to that outcome now than we were in 2010.

Also worth noting:

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