Guatemala and the Republic of China (Taiwan) Strengthen Cooperation Ties

The Taiwanese ambassador visited Segeplan's offices in August 2023 to strengthen bilateral relations.

by Victor Cojulún
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Guatemala City, by Brenda Larios -AGN-. The friendship ties between Guatemala and the Republic of China (Taiwan) are strengthened due to the approval of the Congress of Decree 16-2023, containing the Basic Cooperation Agreement between both countries.

According to the Secretariat of Planning and Programming of the Presidency -Segeplan-, “The approval of the Decree is the result of the initiative to speed up the process of formalizing the donations presented during the visit of President Tsai Ing-wen to Guatemala in March of this year, which President Alejandro Giammattei signed on April 1.”

The process that led to this agreement began in 2021 when the Secretariat of Planning and Programming of the Presidency -Segeplan- started talks with the Republic of China (Taiwan) to establish a document to promote cooperation between the two countries.

About the Decree

Segeplan is entrusted with prioritizing, managing, negotiating, and contracting non-reimbursable financial cooperation from international organizations and governments.

Keila Vilchez, Segeplan’s Secretary, explained, “This agreement resulted from the cooperation relations between Guatemala and the Republic of China (Taiwan), which in recent years have increased in technical cooperation projects and in-kind since 2020.”

The ratification of the agreement allows for increased cooperation from the Republic of China (Taiwan) in donations or projects for Guatemala. In addition, it expedites internal processes linked to the provision of cooperation from the Taiwanese government, promoting technical and professional training for Guatemalans.

According to the National Cooperation System of Guatemala, the Republic of China (Taiwan) provided nearly USD 90 million in cooperation from 2013 to 2021.

Bilateral Relations

Cooperation between Guatemala and the Republic of China (Taiwan) began in 1933 after the official establishment of the Consulate General of the Republic of China in Guatemala. 

However, diplomatic relations between the nations date back to 1909. Subsequently, in 1960, both nations established embassies in each other’s territories.

The friendship between the two countries has resulted in collaboration in initiatives for:

  • Infrastructure
  • Agriculture
  • Education
  • Information and communication technology
  • Small and medium-sized enterprises
  • Security and transportation
  • Public health and medicine
  • Culture and institutional strengthening

Historical data indicates that the Republic of China (Taiwan) has benefited the Guatemalan population by awarding 476 scholarships since 2006. Guatemalans have studied graduate degrees, master’s degrees, doctorates, and short courses at prestigious Taiwanese universities. Segeplan has provided support throughout this process as the administrator of the scholarship bank.

Agreements

One crucial treaty between the two countries is the Agreement on Technical Cooperation in Agriculture and Livestock between the Republic of China (Taiwan) and the Government of Guatemala. It was signed on September 19, 1985, and was active until November 14, 2010.

This agreement was modified due to advances in the area of agricultural technology. As a result, a new document was signed in 2007 and approved by Congress through Decree 21-2008.

Another demonstration of bilateral relations between the two nations was signing the Agreement on the Establishment of the Investment and Trade Service Mission in Central America between the Government of Guatemala and the Government of the Republic of China (Taiwan). This is currently valid until July 4, 2025.

Finally, the Memorandum of Understanding on Bilateral Cooperation is valid until January 13, 2024.

Through this agreement, the Government of the Republic of China (Taiwan) offers to grant USD 15 million per year to Guatemala as non-refundable assistance. This donation is earmarked for the implementation of specific projects and programs.

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