La Prensa Latina - 14 December 2021
Nicaragua repeals trade agreement with Taiwan after resuming ties with China
Nicaragua’s parliament on Tuesday repealed the free trade agreement (FTA) signed in December 2006 with Taiwan, after last week severing diplomatic ties with the island in favor of Beijing.
Of the 91 members of parliament, 80 voted in favor of the repeal of the FTA, while four abstained and another four who were present did not vote.
In total, parliament urgently processed the repeal of eight agreements and legal instruments signed between Managua and Taipei.
Bilateral trade between the two countries, including in free zones, reached $166.4 million in 2020, 14.03 percent more than in 2019, with a favorable balance for the Central American country, according to figures from the Taipei embassy in Managua.
Nicaragua exported $143.5 million worth of goods to Taiwan between January and December, resulting in a surplus of $120.6 million in favor of the Central American country, according to Taiwanese customs data.
On the other hand, Nicaragua’s imports from Taiwan last year totaled $22.8 million.
Bilateral trade went from $51.97 million in 2007, when the FTA between the two countries came into force, to $166.4 million in 2020, up 220.1 percent, according to data from Taiwan’s Bureau of Foreign Trade.
Parliament also repealed seven other agreements and instruments between Nicaragua and Taiwan, including a $20.2 million loan signed with the Taiwanese Export-Import Bank of the Republic of China to finance a project to improve the irrigation system in the west of the country, approved on Nov. 12, 1998.
The lawmakers also suspended a visa exemption agreement for holders of diplomatic, service or special passports, which had been in effect since 2012, among other things.
The repeal order “legally covers any agreement, treaty, convention or instrument that has been signed between the Republic of Nicaragua and Taiwan before Dec. 9, 2021,” the approved text said.
Taiwan was the most important bilateral donor to Nicaragua, a country where it financed 27 projects including in food production, fruit crops and high quality pig farming worth between $30-50 million, according to data from the Nicaraguan government.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Denis Moncada said in a statement last Thursday that “the Government of the Republic of Nicaragua today breaks diplomatic relations with Taiwan and ceases to have any contact or official relationship.”
He added that “in the world there is only one single China.”
“The People’s Republic of China is the only legitimate government that represents all of China and Taiwan is an inalienable part of the Chinese territory.”
China later confirmed the resumption of diplomatic relations with Nicaragua.
Taiwan, officially the Republic of China, has been governed autonomously since 1949, however Beijing claims sovereignty of it through its “one China” policy. It considers the island a rebel province of the mainland, with which it vows reunification and has not ruled out the use of force to achieve this.