–U.S.-Taiwan Free Trade Agreement Roundtable – R.O.C. the Boat did an excellent analysis of a prospective U.S.-Taiwan Free Trade Agreement (TUFTA). A lot of it comes down to, do the benefits outweigh the negative impact on U.S.- China relations. Remember he has a strong pro-Taiwan bias, so take it with a grain of salt. Here are some excellent factoids:
Taiwan has experienced an average annual growth in GDP of 7.8 % over the past half century, and currently engages in foreign trade to the tune of $437 billion U.S. dollars and is the second largest holder of Foreign Exchange Reserves in the world ($266 billion).
Taiwan produces 72% of the world’s laptops, 79% of PDAs and 68% of LCD monitors. In the cover article of a May 2005 issue of Business Week, Bruce Einhorn referred to Taiwan as “the hidden center of the global economy.”
In 2006, Taiwan was the United States’ 9th largest trading partner, 11th largest export market, and the largest importer per capita of U.S. agricultural products. In the same year, the United States served as Taiwan’s 3rd largest trading partner, second largest export market, and Taiwan’s largest source of foreign direct investment. Taiwan-U.S. bilateral trade was worth $62 billion dollars last year.
–China AIDS rate slows, main transmission now sex – As I said before, HIV infection in Mainland China is very low, something like 700,000/1.3 billion, so not even close to 1%. That being said, I’m glad that the infection rate is down, but I’m guessing this is due to less transfusion and dirty needle issues. The heterosexual transmission concerns me because I question the amount of condom use in China. I realize that Mainland people are not promiscuous by Western standards, but that is rapidly changing. Social openness and migration of poor peasants to urban areas has also lead to a rise in prostitution, which is likely an major vector for transmission.
–U.S. expects full North Korean nuclear disclosure soon – Why do I not think this is going to happen? When you “buy peace” from a regime like N.Korea I do not think it is ever going to be a lasting one. This is a stopgap measure, not a solution. There is no way in the world N.Korea will reveal all their nuclear facilities and especially not their mobile all of their mobile fissile material.
–Fighting off the wolves – An Interesting interview with a Chinese novelist.