The China Post staff
Taiwan’s exports and imports continued expanding in June. Officials of the Ministry of Finance (MOF) attributed the strong performance to sharp growth in Taiwan’s trade with neighboring Asian nations. MOF officials said the sustained overall trade performance will hinge on the pace of economic recovery in the United States. They expect Taiwan’s export sales to the U.S. will post positive growth in July. The latest trade statistics, based on customs clearance figures, show that the island’s export value amounted to US$11.26 billion in June while imports reached US$9.61 billion. They represent growth rates of 9 percent and 11.2 percent respectively from the same month last year. Trade surplus stood at US$1.65 billion, down 2 percent from June last year. Analysis by the MOF shows that Taiwan posted impressive gains in both exports to and imports from Asian countries. Sales to Hong Kong, mainland China, South Korea, and Singapore all rose over 18 percent. Imports from the mainland, Korea, and member nations of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations also increased more than 16 percent. Cumulative exports in the January-June period amounted to US$62.35 billion, down slightly by 1 percent from the same period of last year. Imports reached US$52.84 billion, down 6.4 percent. The trade surplus for the six-month period surged 45.3 percent from year-earlier period to US$9.51 billion. MOF officials noted that in spite of the minor contraction in export trade during the first half of the year, Taiwan’s sales to trade partners in the Asian region still posted a gain of 6.3 percent. Shipments to Hong Kong, Korea and mainland China registered the highest export growth. But exports to the U.S., European nations, and Japan continued decreasing in the six months. Among the major export categories, electronic products, precision optotronic instruments, machinery, and chemical products chalked up impressive gains. For imports, decreases in the imports of agricultural and industrial materials as well as consumer goods narrowed to 2.1 percent and 2.9 percent respectively.
Since the pace of recovery in investment in the private sector remained slow, the imports of capital goods slid 18.1 percent from the first half of year in 2001, inducing an overall reduction of 6.4 percent in the period. MOF officials expect Taiwan’s foreign trade to continue gaining strength at a steady pace in the months ahead. In spite of the recent surge in Taiwan currency, the rise is still weaker than the appreciation of currencies in neighboring nations.
The strength of recovery in the U.S. economy and world economy will determine the final performance of Taiwan’s foreign trade, they said.