Fri, Oct 04, 2019 - Page 12 News List

Event to boost trade up to 20%: TAITRA

US BUSINESS DAY:American Institute in Taiwan Director Brent Christensen told participants that the US looks forward to new ways of expanding trade with Taiwan

By Kwan Shin-han  /  Staff reporter

Deputy Minister of Economic Affairs Wang Mei-hua, fourth left, Taiwan External Trade Development Council chairman James Huang, third left, American Institute in Taiwan Director Brent Christensen, center, and other officials yesterday pose for a photograph at the opening of the US Business Day event in Taipei.

Photo: CNA

The nation’s US Business Day, which matches Taiwanese suppliers with US companies, is expected to increase trade opportunities this year by 10 to 20 percent as more US firms avoid tariffs imposed by Washington on Chinese imports by buying Taiwanese goods, Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA, 外貿協會) chairman James Huang (黃志芳) said yesterday.

TAITRA declined to provide a total for the amount of business opportunities the annual event might generate, but it said that positive responses from US companies indicated that the amount could be higher than last year’s NT$168.3 million (US$5.42 million).

The amount is estimated to reach NT$185.13 million to NT$201.96 million, based on Huang’s comment.

The event at the Taipei International Convention Center was attended by dozens of US companies, including server manufacturer Super Micro Computer Inc, retailers Meijer Inc and Staples Inc, organic foods distributor United Natural Foods Inc, and motor and power tool maker WW Grainger Inc, the council said.

The event is a platform for US companies to buy information and communications technology (ICT) products, auto parts, machines, bicycles, textiles and food products from more than 200 Taiwanese firms, the Ministry of Economic Affairs said.

Several US state governments also participated, seeking Taiwanese companies with plans to cooperate with agencies or invest in the US, the ministry said.

“The US is proud to be one of Taiwan’s top trading partners, and we look forward to finding new ways to strengthen and expand our trade relationship,” American Institute in Taiwan Director Brent Christensen told participants.

A report released last month by the Ministry of Finance suggested that orders are being diverted from China to Taiwan, as Taiwanese companies in August shipped 28.4 percent more of the products that in China are hit by US tariffs, compared with last year, while exports of products not on the US tariff list increased only 6.9 percent.

In the first eight months of this year, Taiwan’s exports to the US increased 18 percent year-on-year, with ICT and electronics goods making up the majority, while imports from the US climbed 8 percent, the Ministry of Economic Affairs said.

“The US is well aware that the increase is mainly due to more companies moving their production bases back to Taiwan, instead of re-exportation through Taiwan,” Vice Minister of Economic Affairs Wang Mei-hua (王美花) said, adding that the ministry would be monitoring the nation’s rising trade surplus with the US.

Asked whether Taiwan might sign a free-trade agreement with the US, Wang said that some US lawmakers would like to deepen trade ties with Taiwan, and that this would be a good time to sign an agreement.

However, the US government is busy with other trade issues and support for Taiwan comes mainly from the private sector, she said.

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