Foreign trade totaled US$576.9 billion for 2017 in Taiwan—up 12.92 percent from the year before—on the back of high prices for agricultural and raw materials, as well as robust demand for consumer electronics and mobile devices, according to the Ministry of Finance Jan. 8.
Exports surged 13.2 percent to US$317.39 billion, while imports gained 12.6 percent to US$259.51 billion. The former was the second best to date and both rates the highest in seven years.
Electronic components and parts topped Taiwan’s nine major export items, up 15.5 percent to a record US$107.21 billion. Machinery exports also rose 21.1 percent to an all-time best US$25.6 billion.
Other items posting impressive growth include basic metals, 18.4 percent; plastic and rubber products, 15.3 percent; information and communication technology products, 13 percent; chemicals, 13 percent; and optical devices, 9.5 percent.
Among the five main import items, mineral products, including crude oil, notched up the biggest increase at 26.5 percent followed by basic metals, 21.9 percent; electronic components and parts, 17.8 percent; and chemicals, 11.5 percent. The only item to decrease was machinery at 2.3 percent.
In terms of export destinations, shipments to mainland China and Hong Kong gained 16 percent, followed by the six major economies of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, 14.2 percent; Europe, 11.2 percent; the U.S. 10.3 percent; and Japan, 6.3 percent.
Looking ahead, the MOF expects new mobile devices and additional business opportunities stemming from such sectors as artificial intelligence, automotive electronics, biometrics, high-performance computing and Internet of Things to continue spurring Taiwan’s exports.
Echoing these rosy sentiments, the Ministry of Economic Affairs said the nearly 300 trade promotion events it organized at home and abroad last year assisted 40,000 local firms generate business in excess of US$10 billion.
The MOEA is expected to continue capitalizing on the improving global economy and stage similar events in select markets like Germany, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, the U.S., Vietnam and mainland China. This undertaking is in line with the government’s policy of creating additional opportunities for Taiwan firms under the framework of the five-plus-two innovative industries initiative.
source: Taiwan Today