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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 78 percent between 1986 and 1996 and a per capita gross domestic product GDP of 15000 Taiwan has become a powerhouse in the global economy1 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 US policies that began with the 1979 Taiwan Relations Act TRA It maintained Taiwans preferential trade status when formal diplomatic relations were severed in favor of the Peoples Republic of China PRC In 1979 Taiwans economy was rapidly expanding and was beginning to fully integrate into the new global economy It exported 56 billion to the United States and had 7 billion in foreign exchange reserves2 Taiwan produced a variety of products specializing in textiles consumer goods and petrochemicals US corporations were beginning to invest heavily in Taiwan when the US government severed the official diplomatic relations it had maintained with the Republic of China for three decades This abrupt loss of
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