Taiwan's Role in the International Community
The United States supports Taiwan’s membership in international organizations that do not require statehood as a condition of membership and encourages Taiwan’s meaningful participation in international organizations where its membership is not possible. Taiwan and the United States belong to a number of the same international organizations, including the World Trade Organization, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, and the Asian Development Bank. In June 2015, AIT and TECRO established the Global Cooperation and Training Framework, a platform for expanding .-Taiwan cooperation on global and regional issues such as public health, economic development, energy, women’s rights, and disaster relief.
President Ma (2008–2016) signed more than twenty pacts with the PRC, including the 2010 Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) [PDF], a cross-strait agreement to lift barriers to trade. Large Taiwanese corporations reap the majority of the benefits from stronger commercial ties with the mainland while average Taiwan residents’ concerns over economic security mount. (Taiwan’s economy grew only percent and youth unemployment was almost 13 percent in 2015, and property prices are soaring.) Many residents also believe that Ma brought Taipei closer to Beijing without transparency and against the will of the Taiwanese people. Ma attended a historic meeting with China’s Xi in November 2015, the first between cross-strait political leaders, but Ma’s approval ratings hovered near record lows in his last two years in power. KMT electoral losses in November 2014 and 2016 were widely interpreted as dissatisfaction with Ma’s China warming policies.