U.S.-China trade conflict presents Taiwan with opportunities: official

Taipei, The ongoing trade dispute between the United States and China will negatively impact some segments of Taiwan’s economy, but could also help open up the Chinese market and provide an opportunity for Taiwan to strengthen its economic resilience, a senior official said Thursday.

The recent spate of protectionist measures directed by the U.S. at China are partly aimed at addressing overproduction that leads to products being dumped on the world market, which also undercuts Taiwanese producers, said Chiou Jiunn-rong (???), deputy head of the National Development Council.

“Taiwan is also a victim of such unfair trade practices as dumping,” Chiou said at a press conference after the weekly Cabinet meeting where issues related to the escalation in U.S.-China trade tensions were discussed.

If the U.S. can bring China to the negotiating table and get it to adopt more opening-up, market-based and foreign investor-friendly policies, it would also benefit Taiwan, he added.

However, if the dispute between the world’s two largest economies turns into a trade war, Taiwan will be adversely affected because of its economic interdependence with China and its role in the global supply chain, which makes it susceptible to fluctuations in the global market, Chiou said.

Given the well-integrated supply chain in the information and communications technology (ICT) sector in Taiwan and China, the local ICT industry is likely to be hardest-hit if the U.S. imposes new tariffs on Chinese ICT imports and restrictions on ICT-based services trade, he said.

Faced with the prospect of a U.S.-China trade war, Premier Lai Ching-te (???) has asked Cabinet members to help industries diversify their supply chains to reduce the volume of intermediate components produced in or exported from China in Taiwan’s exports, Chiou said.

A trade war would cause a crisis, but “we should see this as an opportunity to undertake industry transformation and to diversify our supply chain to ensure greater choice of goods and services to maximize profits,” he said.

Meanwhile, beginning next month, Lai will visit business leaders to get a better understanding of their opinion on the government’s response to the “five shortages” — the lack of land, water, power, skilled workers and manpower in Taiwan, Cabinet spokesman Hsu Kuo-yung (???) said at the press conference.

The government will continue its efforts to improve the local business environment to encourage Taiwanese investors in China to return home, Hsu said.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel