Taiwan was ranked the world’s 17th-largest exporting country and the 18th-largest importer last year, one notch lower in both rankings from the previous year, the Bureau of Foreign Trade (BOFT) said yesterday, citing a report released by the WTO on Thursday.
However, the nation’s exports and imports combined remained the world’s 18th-largest, the same as in the previous year, according to the global trade body’s report.
“While Taiwan’s rankings in exports and imports each fell one notch last year because of the surge in global raw material and crude oil prices, the nation registered a steady performance in its overall trade for the year,” the bureau said in a statement on its Web site.
Taiwan’s exports increased 12 percent to US$308 billion last year from US$275 billion in 2010, while imports totaled US$281 billion, up 11.95 percent from US$251 billion the previous year, WTO data showed.
In terms of services trade, Taiwan’s exports remained the world’s 24th-largest last year at US$46 billion, while services imports ranked the 28th-largest at US$41 billion, the data showed.
The bureau said it expected the nation’s exports to return to normal growth this month, as rising global demand for consumer electronics products — including Apple’s iPhone, low-price -smartphones, PCs powered by the upcoming Windows 8 operating system and LED lighting — would increase the outbound shipments of Taiwan-made products, and related components and parts.
Nonetheless, a surge in the crude oil price would pose a risk to the nation’s economic growth, the bureau said, adding that the export and import rankings in the WTO report would remain under pressure if the crude price rises above US$135 per barrel this year.
Worldwide, China was still the top exporter last year, with outbound shipments reaching US$1.899 trilllion, up from US$1.578 trillion in 2010 and accounting for 10.4 -percent of global trade, the bureau said, citing the WTO report.
The US was runner-up, with exports of US$1.481 trillion, up from US$1.278 trillion the previous year, and Germany still ranked third with US$1.474 trillion of exports, compared with US$1.269 trillion the previous year, the report said.
In Asia, Taiwan’s major trade competitors, South Korea and Singapore, saw their exports rankings remain steady at the world’s seventh-largest and 14th-largest last year, with US$555 billion and US$410 billion respectively, while Hong Kong fell one notch to 12th-largest, with US$456 billion in exports, according to the report.