Taiwan drops in trade ranking

By Kuan-lin Liu, The China Post

TAIPEI, Taiwan — The Importers and Exporters Association of Taipei (IEAT) proposed five strategic alliances for Taiwan to boost its trade in 2017 after the latest rankings found the country dropping in trade competitiveness.

During a press conference on Wednesday to release the findings of its 2017 Survey on Global Trade Environments and Growth Potential in Key and Emerging Markets, IEAT officials commented on Taiwan’s falling trade competitiveness over recent years.

According to IEAT reports, Taiwan experienced its fourth consecutive drop in trade competitiveness, now ranking 16th — one spot lower than in 2016 — in the latest global rankings.

To turn this downward trend around, IEAT Director Huang Cheng-tsung (黃呈琮) pointed to strategic alliances with Japan, China, Malaysia, India, and Singapore that could allow Taiwan to expand into international, regional trades. Japan as a Point of Entry Huang said Japan could be Taiwan’s point of entry into trade deals with other ASEAN countries, and China into the Silk Road Economic Belt, Malaysia to the Halal market, India into Africa, and Singapore into South Asia.

The survey, now in its 9th year, ranks 54 countries and regions in overall trade competitiveness based on sub factors, including a country’s global competitive edge, trade freedom, trade convenience, and trade risks.

While Taiwan maintained its place in the category of most highly recommended countries with which to conduct trade, IEAT indicated that Taiwan was in last place in the category, and if not careful, could slip down to the next category of countries that deserved to be recommended with which to conduct trade.

The three factors that led to Taiwan’s drop in the rankings were, according to IEAT, competition in the developing markets, long-term low wages that have dried up human capital and a high-level reliance on China.

The top 10 countries and regions of this year’s ranking were, in descending order: the U.S., Singapore, Germany, the Netherlands, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Japan, Hong Kong and Israel.