Procurement: Taiwan Rolls Its Own

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September 3, 2007: Because of aggressive Chinese diplomacy against potential suppliers, Taiwan is going to double the proportion of weapons it produces itself. Currently, Taiwan manufactures about 30 percent of the weapons it buys. In the next decade, it will double this to 60 percent. Taiwan has some world class industries, especially in the electronics. But with a population of only 23 million (and a GDP of $365 billion), there are limits to what the country can do when it comes to producing high tech weapons. Israel, which has a third of Taiwan's population, and half its GDP, must depend on the United States for many advanced weapons. But Israel is a model Taiwan is seeking to emulate, by concentrating on high-tech weapons. Taiwan has encountered problems in developing missiles and jet fighters, but has learned from its mistakes. Buying more weapons locally would also help with the political problem. Many Taiwanese don't want to antagonize China by building up the Taiwanese armed forces. It will be more difficult to stall those purchases if its Taiwanese jobs and companies that will suffer.

 


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