Hostname: page-component-797576ffbb-k7d4m Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2023-12-09T04:20:18.067Z Has data issue: false Feature Flags: { "corePageComponentGetUserInfoFromSharedSession": true, "coreDisableEcommerce": false, "useRatesEcommerce": true } hasContentIssue false

China's Economic Offensive and Taiwan's Defensive Measures: Cross-Strait Fruit Trade, 2005–2008*

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  15 August 2013

Chi-hung Wei*
University of Florida. Email:


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 

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)



I would like to thank Aida A. Hozic and Cheng-tian Kuo for their comments, and Thomas Cole for language assistance.


Amsden, Alice. 1985. “The state and Taiwan's economic development.” In Evans, Peter B., Rueschemeyer, Dietrich and Skocpol, Theda (eds.), Bringing the State Back In. New York: Cambridge University Press, 78106.Google Scholar
Blanchard, Jean-Marc F., and Ripsman, Norrin M.. 1999. “Asking the right question: when do economic sanctions work best?Security Studies 9(1–2), 219253.Google Scholar
Chan, Steve. 2006. “Carrots and sticks in Taiwan–China–US relations.” Issues and Studies 42(2), 122.Google Scholar
Cheng, Tun-jen. 1989. “Democratizing the quasi-Leninist regime in Taiwan.” World Politics 41(4), 471499.Google Scholar
Chu, Yun-han. 1994. “The realignment of business–government relations and regime transition in Taiwan.” In MacIntyre, Andrew (ed.), Business and Government in Industrializing Asia. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 113141.Google Scholar
Coase, Ronald. 1937. “The nature of the firm.” Economica 4(16), 386405.Google Scholar
Evans, Peter. 1995. Embedded Autonomy: States and Industrial Transformation. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
Haggard, Stephan. 1990. Pathways from the Periphery: The Politics of Growth in the Newly Industrializing Countries. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.Google Scholar
Hirschman, Albert. 1945. National Power and the Structure of Foreign Trade. California: University of California Press.Google Scholar
Ho, Szu-yin, and Leng, Tse-kang. 2004. “Accounting for Taiwan's economic policy towards China.” Journal of Contemporary China 13(41), 733746.Google Scholar
Huang, Tsung-hao. 2004. “State–business relations in Taiwan since 1949.” Issues and Studies 43(4), 3572.Google Scholar
Hufbauer, Gary C., Schott, Jeffrey J., Elliot, Kimberly Ann and Oegg, Barbara. 2007. Economic Sanctions Reconsidered. Washington, DC: Peterson Institute for International Economics.Google Scholar
Jentleson, Bruce W. 2000. “Economic sanctions and post-Cold War conflicts: challenges for theory and policy.” In Stern, Paul C. (ed.), International Conflict Resolution after the Cold War. Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 123177.Google Scholar
Kahler, Miles, and Kastner, Scott L.. 2006. “Strategic uses of economic interdependence: engagement strategies on the Korean Peninsula and across the Taiwan Strait.” Journal of Peace Research 43(5), 523541.Google Scholar
Kastner, Scott L. 2009. Political Conflict and Economic Interdependence across the Taiwan Strait and Beyond. Stanford: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
Katzenstein, Peter. 1985. Small States in World Markets: Industrial Policy in Europe. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.Google Scholar
Kuo, Cheng-tian. 1993. “Economic statecraft across the Taiwan Strait.” Issues and Studies 29(10), 1938.Google Scholar
Kuo, Cheng-tian. 2000. “Taiwan's distorted democracy in comparative perspective.” Journal of Asian and African Studies 35(1), 85111.Google Scholar
Lee, Pei-shan, and Hsu, Yung-ming. 2002. “Southern politics? Regional trajectories of party development in Taiwan.” Issues and Studies 38(2), 6184.Google Scholar
Leng, Tse-kang. 1996. The Taiwan–China Connection: Democracy and Development across the Taiwan Straits. Boulder: Westview Press.Google Scholar
Liao, Kun-jung. 2004. “Social capital formation of farmers' associations and the policy effectiveness of rural development in Taiwan.” Zhengzhi kexue luncong 22, 181220.Google Scholar
Lin, Chong-pin. 2008. “More carrot than stick: Beijing's emerging Taiwan policy.” China Security 4(1), 125.Google Scholar
Liu, Chao-lung. 1995. “Taiwan qiji xiade nongyebumen” (The agricultural sector in Taiwan's economic miracle). Master's thesis, National Chung-cheng University.Google Scholar
Mastanduno, Michael. 1999. “Economic statecraft, interdependence, and national security: agendas for research.” Security Studies 9(1–2), 288316.Google Scholar
MAC (Mainland Affairs Council). 2005a. “Wu Zhaoxie: liang'an nongye jiaoliu sheji gongquanli shixiang xuyou zhengfu shouquan” (Joseph Wu: negotiations over cross-Strait agricultural exchanges require government authorization), 7 April, Accessed 16 May 2012.Google Scholar
MAC. 2005b. “Luweihui: weijing zhengfu shouquan xieshang gongquanli shixiang jiang yifa chuli” (MAC: legal action will be taken against negotiations without government authorization), 18 June, Accessed 16 May 2012.Google Scholar
MAC. 2005c. “Guanyu shengnonghui yu dalu haixia liang'an jingmao jiaoliu xiehui zai Beijing goutong shuiguo lingguanshui shiyi zhi xinwengao” (Press statement on negotiations between FATP and AETATS), 22 June, Accessed 16 May 2012.Google Scholar
MAC. 2005d. “Zhengfu buhui zuoshi minjian tuanti lianhe Zhonggong taokong zhengfu gongquanli” (The government will not sit around and see civic organizations collude with China on hollowing out government authorities), 3 July, Accessed 16 May 2012.Google Scholar
MAC. 2005e. “Renhe minjian tuanti doubuneng qudai zhengfu xingshi gongquanli” (No civic organization is a substitute for governmental authority), 6 July, Accessed 16 May 2012.Google Scholar
Nordlinger, Eric. 1981. On the Autonomy of the Democratic State. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
Office of the President (Taiwan). 2005a. “Zongtong canjia Taiwan mugua shouhang Riben ji shuri youzhi nongchanpin fabiaohui” (President attends the ceremony for the first shipment of Taiwanese papayas to Japan), 15 June, Accessed 16 May 2012.Google Scholar
Office of the President (Taiwan). 2005b. “Zongtong canjia Tainanxian yujingxiang nongchan wuliu zhongxin zhengre jianyichang wangong qiyong dianli” (President attends the opening ceremony of the Tainan fruit steam-disinfection facility), 3 July, Accessed 16 May 2012.Google Scholar
Office of the President (Taiwan). 2005c. “Zongtong zhuchi 94 niandu nongyuhui zongganshi yewu yansiban diyitici kaixun dianli” (President hosts the opening ceremony of the 2005 study group for officials of farmers' and fishers' associations), 25 July, Accessed 16 May 2012.Google Scholar
Papayoanou, Paul A., and Kastner, Scott L.. 1999. “Sleeping with the (potential) enemy: assessing the US policy of engagement with China.” Security Studies 9 (1–2), 157187.Google Scholar
Schmitter, Philippe. 1974. “Still the century of corporatism?Review of Politics 36 (1), 85131.Google Scholar
Selden, Zachary. 1999. Economic Sanctions as Instruments of American Foreign Policy. Westport: Praeger.Google Scholar
Sutter, Karen. 2002. “Business dynamism across the Taiwan Strait: the implications for cross-Strait relations.” Asian Survey 42 (3), 522540.Google Scholar
Tanner, Murray. 2007. Chinese Economic Coercion against Taiwan. CA: Rand Corporation.Google Scholar
Tsai, Ching-ying. 2006. “Zhongguo dui Taiwan bufenshuiguo shishi jinkou lingguanshui cuoshi yinianlai zhi yingxiang fenxi” (Analysing the one-year effectiveness of China's duty-free treatment towards Taiwanese fruit). Agricultural Policy and Review 172, Accessed 16 May 2012.Google Scholar
Wade, Robert. 1990. Governing the Market: Economic Theory and the Role of Government in East Asian Industrialisation. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
Wu, Yu-shan. 2007. “Taiwan's developmental state: after the economic and political turmoil.” Asian Survey 47 (6), 9771001.Google Scholar