China's Economic Offensive and Taiwan's Defensive Measures: Cross-Strait Fruit Trade, 2005–2008*
Published online by Cambridge University Press: 15 August 2013
This article explains how Taiwan's Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) administration was able to restrict cross-Strait fruit trade and resist China's “fruit offensive” in a democratic setting. During 2004–2005, China implemented various preferential policies for the importation of Taiwanese fruit and wooed Taiwanese farmers in the rural south, where political support for the DPP was concentrated. However, trade statistics show that cross-Strait fruit trade only increased slightly, making up just 4 or 5 per cent of Taiwan's total fruit exports during 2005–2008. I argue that focusing solely on regime type ignores the formal and informal policy instruments a democratic state can wield to manage its commercial ties with, and resist economic offensives from, other states. Cross-Strait fruit trade was limited because the DPP used legal as well as corporatist informal policy instruments to resist China's fruit offensive. I conclude that state–society institutional relations explain cross-Strait economic relations and economic statecraft better than regime type alone.
- Copyright © The China Quarterly 2013
I would like to thank Aida A. Hozic and Cheng-tian Kuo for their comments, and Thomas Cole for language assistance.