The Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA) will open four new offices in China to help Taiwanese companies based there shift their focus from exports to China’s domestic market, TAITRA chairman Wang Chih-kang (王志剛) said yesterday.
Wang told an end-of-year press conference that the agency would open branches in Guangzhou, Nanjing, Dalian and Wuhan.
TAITRA already has offices in Beijing, Shanghai, Qingdao, Chengdu and Xiamen.
With Taiwan’s exports being battered by the global economic downturn, Wang said his agency’s two main missions for the coming year would be to help Taiwanese companies tap China’s domestic market and shift target export markets from Europe and the US to emerging markets, such as Russia, the Middle East and Central and South America.
“TAITRA has only one goal and that is to expand exports,” Wang said.
“Expanding domestic demand is important, but expanding foreign exports is even more important, especially the market in China,” he said.
Wang said Taiwan recorded a trade surplus of US$13 billion from January to last month, but that was a 48 percent drop from the same period a year earlier.
“This is a scary number that worries us very much,” he said.
Although they represent only a small portion of the nation’s overall trade, emerging markets are full of potential, Wang said, and will be the key targets of TAITRA’s trade-promotion efforts.
Wang said the source of his optimism was the growth in exports to these emerging markets between July and last month, when the worldwide financial crisis hit the hardest.
Total exports to emerging markets totaled US$360 million during the period, with shipments to Brazil and Saudi Arabia growing by 91.93 percent and 84.01 percent respectively, year-on-year.
“This greatly boosted our confidence,” Wang said, adding that TAITRA has already deployed staff to emerging nations.
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