Taiwan’s trade with China rises 14%


Taiwan’s two-way trade with China shot up 14 percent in the first half of the year from the same period in 2006, boosted by rising world demand for computers and electronics products, the Taiwan government said yesterday. Taiwan remained China’s third largest source of imports during the period, after Japan and South Korea, the Board of Foreign Trade said, citing figures released by Chinese customs.

Taiwanese exports to China amounted to US$33 billion and imports from the mainland totaled US$13 billion, each rising at a rate around 14 percent, it said.

The export figure accounted for 29 percent of Taiwan’s overall exports, representing a record high portion of goods shipped to the Chinese mainland, according to the government agency. Taiwan and China split amid civil war in 1949, and political hostilities have remained despite the close trade ties.

To take advantage of China’s cheap labor, many Taiwanese computer and other high-tech companies have set up assembly lines there and ship key parts and components to them to be fashioned into finished products.

But the independence leaning government of President Chen Shui-bian has lashed out at the trend and imposed a number of investment restrictions, including limiting the export of selected high tech know-how, and placing caps on investments by individual firms.

Chen’s government fears burgeoning commercial ties with the mainland could compel the island to rely more on China’s economy and weaken Taiwan’s negotiating position in any future political talks.

The Board of Foreign Trade said trade with China is expected to grow steadily in the third quarter, which is traditionally the peak season for computers and electronics products.