Wed, Apr 15, 2009 - Page 12 News List

Hong Kong top for foreign trade, IEAT survey says

By Crystal Hsu  /  STAFF REPORTER

STAFF REPORTER

Exporters and importers regard Hong Kong, Singapore and Canada as the most competitive places to conduct foreign trade while the Philippines and Cambodia are the least competitive, a report released yesterday showed.

The survey, conducted by the Importers and Exporters Association of Taipei (IEAT), called on the government to provide more online trade information and help lower foreign exchange risk as part of its efforts to boost exports.

“Of the world’s 34 major and emerging markets, Hong Kong ranks as the best place in terms of trade freedom, convenience, ease and lack of risk,” Leu Horng-der (呂鴻德), a business administration professor at Chung Yuan Christian University, told a media briefing.

Hong Kong is trailed by Singapore, Canada and the US, Leu said, citing the survey of 2,088 companies. The four are the most recommended markets, together with the UK, Australia, Japan and Germany, the report said.

China, Taiwan’s largest trade partner, was assigned a middling 16th ranking by domestic firms, but is considered a market that cannot be ignored, Leu said.

“The government can help Taiwanese firms tap into the market by talking with Chinese department stores and other outlets to set up Taiwanese goods sections,” he said.

The report ranked the Philippines and Cambodia the least competitive markets, with respondents saying it was better to avoid doing business in these countries for now.

India, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam also scored low in the competitiveness measure survey.

As ASEAN countries collectively account for Taiwan’s third-largest trade market, the respondents urged the government to introduce a risk warning system so that domestic firms can be better informed when drawing up investment plans, Leu said.

The respondents also expressed hope that the government could help stabilize foreign exchanges, saying that excessive fluctuations threaten to dampen profitability.

The government was also asked to increase the branding aid budget to help companies lift their global status, the report said.

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