The Taiwan Association of Machinery Industry (TAMI, 台灣機器工業公會) yesterday said Taiwan’s machine tool exports may remain flat next year on slumping demand.
“Overall, there are still many political and economic uncertainties in the global market,” TAMI secretary-general Wang Cheng-ching (王正青) said by telephone.
Based on the association’s estimate, shipments of machine tools are likely to grow by 8 to 9 percent to US$4.4 billion this year from last year.
Taiwan’s machine tool exports totaled NT$104.69 billion (US$3.59 billion) in the first 10 months of the year, a 9.2 percent increase compared to the same period last year, the Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA, 外貿協會) said yesterday.
By destination, China imported the most machine tools from Taiwan, with total shipments hitting US$1.23 billion in the first 10 months of the year, followed by US$442.81 million in shipments to the US and US$226.09 million in shipments to Thailand, according to TAITRA.
However, exports to Brazil, Indonesia and Vietnam shrunk by up to 30 percent in the first 10 months, which Wang attributed to rival South Korean firms gaining a bigger market share on the back of the South Korean government’s free-trade agreements and comprehensive economic partnership agreements with other nations.
For instance, South Korean companies have built several automotive manufacturing plants in India with zero-tariff treatments under the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement, driving demand for South Korea-made machine tools, he said.
“The [Taiwanese] government is lagging compared with South Korean government” in terms of free-trade pact progress, Wang said.
Wang said he predicted Taiwanese machine tool makers’ sales would increase by up to 40 percent once the government accelerates decisionmaking on free-trade agreements with major economies, such as the US, the EU and ASEAN.
The appreciating NT dollar is another factor that has curbed shipment growth, he said.
“There are still many uncertainties for the first quarter of next year because of fewer working days during the Lunar New Year holidays,” he said.