US President Donald Trump’s “America first” approach is likely to affect Taiwan’s export performance, the Ministry of Economic Affairs said on Saturday in response to the US president’s inauguration speech.
Economists urged the government to come up with countermeasures against possible effects of the Trump administration, which has been leaning toward protectionism, as the US is one of the largest buyers of Taiwan-made goods.
Department of Statistics Director-General Lin Lee-jen (林麗貞) appeared cautious about the US trade policy after Trump pushed the “America first” theme in his inaugural address on Friday.
Lin said that although Trump needs some time to implement his new trade policy, which is expected to give Taiwanese exporters a buffer against US protectionism, Taiwan cannot afford to ignore the possible changes in business ties between the US and China, where Taiwanese firms such as Hon Hai Precision Industry Co (鴻海精密) have built up broad protection sites to penetrate the US market.
After Trump’s inauguration, the White House announced its withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a trade pact championed by former US president Barack Obama. Taiwan has been keen to join the TPP trade bloc, but Gordon Sun (孫明德), director of the Economic Forecasting Center at the Taiwan Institute of Economic Research (台灣經濟研究院), said that things have changed and that Taiwan should seek a new approach in an era without the TPP.
Taiwan has been pushing its “new southbound policy,” so it is necessary for the nation to link this policy and its trade ties with the US, Sun said.
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