The implementation of sanctions on the Philippines, such as suspending economic exchanges and freezing Filipino worker applications, will have limited impact on the economy, government officials said.
Even if the situation deteriorates further, it would not pose a significant threat to the nation’s economy because of the relatively low trade volume between the two countries, they said.
“I am confident that businesses have the ability to cope with the impact of these measures,” Minister of Economic Affairs Chang Chia-juch (張家祝) said at a meeting of the legislature’s Economics Committee on Thursday.
There are about 87,000 Filipino workers in Taiwan, accounting for 20 percent of all foreign workers in Taiwan, the government’s data showed.
“The sanctions are more likely to slow down the growth of trade between the two nations, rather than reduce the current trade level,” Council for Economic Planning and Development Minister Kuan Chung-ming (管中閔) told lawmakers at the meeting.
Last year, Taiwan’s exports to the Philippines amounted to US$8.88 billion, accounting for 2.95 percent of the nation’s total exports, while imports from the Philippines were US$2.13 billion, or 0.78 percent of total imports, official data showed.
“Taiwan enjoyed a trade surplus of US$6.7 billion with the Philippines last year, which accounts for only 1.5 percent of our GDP,” Kuan said.
However, Kuan said companies with large investments in the Philippines might suffer more if relations deteriorate further.
There are between 600 and 700 Taiwanese companies operating in the Philippines, especially in the Metro Manila area, including contract notebook maker Wistron Corp (緯創), PC brand Asustek Computer Inc (華碩) and food maker Uni-President Enterprises Corp (統一企業).
The two countries have co-developed the Subic Bay Industrial Park, with 51 Taiwanese companies investing US$350 million in the park, the ministry said.