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Taiwan Research Programme
London School of Economics and Political Science
Houghton Street
London, WC2A 2AE

 

Co-Directors
Professor Stephan Feuchtwang
s.feuchtwang@lse.ac.uk

Dr Fang-Long Shih
f.shih@lse.ac.uk

Neo-Liberalism/Neo-Imperialism and the Global Supply Chain: Taiwan and China in comparative perspective

Seminar on Taiwan and China in Comparative Perspective

Series:  Seminar on Taiwan in Comparative Perspective

Date: Wednesday 2 March 2016, 6-8pm 

Venue: Seligman Library, 6th Floor, Old Building, LSE

Chair: Dr Fang-long Shih (LSE)

Panellists: David Wang (LSE) and Dr Kent Deng (LSE)

Introduction

This is our fourth panel discussion to address the theme of "What does the Taiwan 2016 Election Signify?", this time considering the view from Economics.

Issues around the global supply chain and neo-liberalism/neo-imperialism provoke on-going heated debates: they were signifant factors in Taiwan's 2016 Election, and they remain central to the understanding of manufacturing enterprises, both "made in Taiwan" and  "made in China" . On Monday 29 February we had a lively discussion of these subjects following a showing of the film Factory Boss, which we unfortunately had to bring to a close at 9pm.

The current panel discussion continues our on-going discussion. We are delighted that the final speaker on Monday has agreed to give a talk, to further elaborate his insights and arguments around these issues. As a group we can continue our debate over the political and economic perspectives on the global supply chain and neo-liberalism/neo-imperialism, complementing the issues of film-making and artwork we discussed with Zhang Wei, the director of the film.

Abstract

Today's talk presents a narrative review of a new global production pattern - so-called “intra-product specialization” - and its implications for bilateral trade between Taiwan and China. It identifies the various kinds of literature on the subject, and presents a theoretical framework that examines three aspects: (1) the causes of the emergence of intra-product specialization; (2) the upgrading mechanisms of firms in the context of intra-product specialization; (3) the welfare implications of intra-product specialization. 

The talk will also offer a critical analysis on how to incorporate this framework into exploring the evolution of the trade relationship between Taiwan and China. It suggests that Taiwan's trade reliance on China is mainly attributable to outward foreign direct Investment (FDI) rather than outsourcing. The driving factor for the massive scale of FDI from Taiwan to China is the high outsourcing costs - mainly for transactions and monitoring - caused by imperfect institutional settings.

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