Mon, Jun 03, 2019 - Page 16 News List

Exports to the US increase 19.8 percent annually

LOOPHOLES:The US-China trade spat could result in more products with fake origin labels, but the MOEA said it would work with other agencies to combat the practice

By Chen Cheng-hui  /  Staff reporter

Taiwan’s exports to the US rose 19.8 percent year-on-year to US$14.22 billion in the first four months of this year, reflecting strong US consumer and business spending, and the return of Taiwanese businesses due to US-China trade tensions, the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) said yesterday.

During the first four months, shipments of information technology, network communications and audio-visual products reached NT$4.26 billion (US$134.76 million), accounting for nearly 30 percent of total exports to the US and up 56.3 percent from the same period last year, the ministry said in a statement on its Web site.

The increase in shipments to the US for these products was far higher than the export growth for other items, which was mainly driven by computer components, servers, switches and routers, as well as other computer peripherals and communications devices, the ministry said.

The nation’s total exports in the January-to-April period fell 4 percent to US$102.2 billion on an annual basis, government data showed.

The US was the largest market for Taiwan’s information technology, network communications and audio-visual products, taking up 34 percent of total exports of such items, Ministry of Finance data showed.

China came in second with 20.2 percent and Hong Kong third with 8.3 percent, the Ministry of Finance said in a separate statement on Thursday.

The trade dispute between Washington and Beijing has prompted a number of Chinese companies to ship their products to the US from other countries, including Taiwan, Vietnam and Mexico, in a bid to avoid US tariffs, the Nikkei Asian Review reported on Saturday.

Based on data collected from the US International Trade Commission and the International Trade Center, Nikkei said there was an increased likelihood of “roundabout exports” with fake origin labels.

Commenting on the report, the MOEA said that Taiwan’s increaseing exports to the US were boosted by local companies expanding production lines and manufacturing capacities at home to avoid the US tariffs, rather than the result of Chinese companies repacking their products in Taiwan to disguise their place of origin.

The MOEA said it would improve cooperation with the finance ministry and the Ministry of Transportation and Communications to enhance enforcement of import-export management regulations and protect against dubious labeling practices.

Last month, the Executive Yuan unveiled draft amendments to the Foreign Trade Act (貿易法), which aim to prevent the practice of labeling Chinese imports as being made in Taiwan.

The amendments are designed to protect the reputation of Taiwan’s products and the interests of local industries by increasing fines for breaking the law and rewards for whistle-blowers, the ministry said.

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