Taiwan, an island, is separated from the mainland of South China by the 100-mile-wide Taiwan Strait in the Pacific Ocean and is the seat of the Republic of China government (ROC). The capital of Taiwan is Taipei and other major cities include Kaohsiung, Tainan, Taichong, and Chilung. The languages spoken are the Mandarin, Fujianese (Amoy), and Hakka dialects. Religions on the island include Confucianism, Taoism, Buddhism, and Christianity.
THE ECONOMY OF TAIWAN
The 1990s have been a time of change and achievement for Taiwan. Politically, Taiwan has undergone a dramatic transition from an authoritarian government to a true democracy and on the economic front, Taiwan has continued to prosper. For the past 20 years, Taiwan has had one of the fastest growing and most dynamic economies in the world. With over $80 billion US in foreign capital reserves, an average growth rate of 7.8 percent between 1986 and 1996, and a per capita gross domestic product (GDP) of $15,000, Taiwan has become a powerhouse in the global economy.
1 Its remarkable success comes after five decades of hard work and sound economic management that have transformed Taiwan from an underdeveloped agricultural island to a leading producer of high-technology goods. Helping to spur this extraordinary growth during the last two decades were supportive U.S. policies that began with the 1979 Taiwan Relations Act (TRA). It maintained Taiwan's preferential trade status when formal diplomatic relations were severed in favor of the People's Republic of China (PRC). In 1979, Taiwan's economy was rapidly expanding and was beginning to fully integrate into the new global economy. It exported $5.6 billion to the United States and had $7 billion in foreign exchange reserves.
2 Taiwan produced a variety of products, specializing in textiles, consumer goods, and petrochemicals. U.S. corporations were beginning to invest heavily in...