Fri, Jul 13, 2018 - Page 12 News List

Ministry assessing effect of US-China trade war

By Kuo Chia-erh  /  Staff reporter

The government is still assessing the impact of the escalating trade war between the US and China, but the latest proposed tariffs on Chinese consumer goods should have limited effects on the local textile industry, Minister of Economic Affairs Shen Jong-chin (沈榮津) said yesterday

Taiwanese companies mainly supply textiles to China, while the proposed US tariffs are directed at end products like garments, Shen told reporters.

As for the machinery and semiconductor industries, the ministry is holding meetings today with local business groups to discuss their potential impact, he said.

“We hope to ask the right people the right questions [to understand the situation] by arranging such meetings,” Shen said.

Shen made the comments after the administration of US President Donald Trump on Tuesday released a list of US$200 billion of Chinese exports that could be subject to a new 10 percent tariff.

The list includes hundreds of food products and consumer goods, ranging from car tires, furniture and suitcases, to dog and cat food, baseball gloves, carpets, doors, bicycles, skis, golf bags, toilet paper and beauty products.

Notebook computers and smartphones are not on the list.

Separately, Shen said the ministry’s ban on local companies’ exports to Chinese smartphone maker ZTE Corp (中興通訊) and ZTE Kangxun Telecommunications Ltd (中興康訊) would be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

Following the US’ decision to prohibit ZTE and ZTE Kangxun from buying any crucial US electronics components for seven years, the ministry in April announced that Taiwanese companies should apply for permits before exporting their products to the two Chinese firms.

However, the US Department of Commerce on Wednesday said that ZTE had signed an escrow agreement with the department and the ban on ZTE would be removed as soon as the company deposits US$400 million in an escrow account.

Shen said that the ministry would determine the necessity of allowing shipments to ZTE if any Taiwanese suppliers apply for the export permit, citing the example of chip designer MediaTek Inc (聯發科), which in May obtained approvals.

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