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Banking

Any Taiwanese here?

Its issuers are good enough for the international capital markets. Investment banks such as Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch, and Deutsche Morgan Grenfell are eager lead managers of their deals. Futures contracts on its equity index are listed in Chicago and Singapore. Its stock market has risen by over 30% this year, in stark contrast to neighbours Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines and Thailand whose stock markets have each crashed between 25% and 35%.

But Taiwan is not welcome at the great annual schmooze-fest itself. No official Taiwanese delegation will be at the World Bank/IMF meeting this year. The location of the meeting in Hong Kong, a Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China, is obviously off-putting. But wherever the meeting is held Taiwan is absent, being a member neither of the IMF nor the World Bank.

A spokesman for the World Bank concedes that Taiwan's status is a sensitive issue and is entangled with the history of shifting official recognition between Taiwan and China: "China became a member of the World Bank in 1945. When the UN refused to recognize the PRC and instead gave recognition to the ROC/Taiwan, the Bank followed suit: the Bank, as a UN agency, upholds decisions of the Security Council.

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