By Fernando Herrera Ramos
On Wednesday of last week, the Central American Bank for Economic Integration (CAEBIE) held a press conference at the World Financial Center in Taipei to celebrate two milestones: the 30th anniversary of the collaboration between the financial institution and the government of Taiwan , and the first anniversary of the inauguration. from the CABIE office in Taiwan.
The event was attended by the Executive President of the CABIE, Dante Mossi, the Ambassador of Honduras Harold Burgos, the Ambassador of Guatemala Willy Gomez and the Ambassador of Belize Candice Pitts. It should be mentioned that all the ambassadors are from countries allied to Taiwan which are also members of the bank.
One of the main objectives of the press conference was to attract Taiwanese financial institutions to offer their products in Central America. As one of its representatives stated, CABEI is on a mission to explain to Taiwanese banks the risks of operating in the region and how they can use CABEI’s knowledge of the markets to maximize profits.
CABEI is an international multilateral development financial institution that continuously invests in projects that promote development to reduce poverty and improve regional integration. Its office in Taiwan focuses on consolidating the bank’s presence in Asia and attracting financial resources for cooperation in Central America.
In early 2020, Taiwan offered its assistance with emergency support funds to affected countries in the region. Through the use of loans, Taiwan made significant efforts to reduce the impact of COVID-19 and also assisted CABIE with its economic recovery initiatives.
These efforts were promoted by President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), who said on Monday last week that her government was committed to deepening ties with Central America and promoting inclusive prosperity and sustainable development in the it was post-pandemic.
His statements were made while receiving Mossi and his delegation at the Presidential Office.
All CABEI projects have had a positive impact on the government’s work to maintain its diplomatic allies, but pressure from the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to isolate Taiwan on the international stage is likely to continue, so it is required more effort
There is no reason to believe that the CCP’s attempts to entice countries to sever ties with Taiwan in exchange for access to its giant market and financial resources will backfire. If anything, US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s recent visit to Taiwan could exacerbate the CCP’s efforts.
This is where the support to CABEI could represent a great opportunity for the government. By encouraging private financial institutions to provide loans and other financial services to the Central American and Caribbean region, the Tsai administration could increase the financial aid provided to its allied countries and reduce the risk that they would diplomatic exchange
This goal is paramount to Taiwan, because even when countries are strongly aligned with Taiwan because of its democratic values, governments are mandated to improve the living conditions of their people, and that takes money.
Therefore, supporting the CABIE is a good way to achieve this goal, since, as explained by one of its official representatives, the bank puts social aspects before making money, and is willing to sacrifice economic gains for ensure that investors continue to make profits and invest more in the region.
This model also means that resources can go directly to the people who need them, which in turn can create a positive impression of Taiwan’s contributions among ordinary citizens, citizens who hold the power to choose the their government representatives and guide policy making.
The visit to Taiwan by CABEI staff led to an agreement to run a project to promote women’s empowerment and economic recovery in Latin America and the Caribbean, something that could benefit hundreds of families.
The importance of CABEI is not lost on the government. Foreign Minister Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) said Taiwan has made significant efforts to deepen its alliance with CABIE over the past three decades.
Just last year, the two sides signed the Partnership Trust Fund Agreement, which Wu said would hopefully demonstrate the government’s commitment to its allies in the region.
In its quest for diplomatic survival, Taiwan must continue to find partnerships that allow it to level the playing field, help its government provide its allies with the resources they need, and do so without asking its government to sacrifice its principles and democratic values. .
Fernando Herrera Ramos is a Honduran lawyer residing in Taiwan.
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