Meeting 5.5% trade goal ‘a challenge,’ official says

Staff writer, with CNA

Mon, Sep 23, 2013 - Page 14

“It will be a challenge” for Taiwan to reach its goal of 5.5 percent annual trade growth this year amid the lingering global slowdown, a Ministry of Economic Affairs official said on Friday.

The ministry set the goal last year, but Taiwan’s trade growth in the first eight months of this year averaged just 2.5 percent, the official in charge of trade affairs said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The WTO has adjusted its global trade growth forecast for this year down to 2.5 percent from the 3.3 percent it predicted in April, and down to 4.5 percent from 5 percent for next year.

However, WTO economists have shown more optimism toward the future, saying in a press release on Thursday that “conditions for improved trade are gradually falling into place.”

The ministry official said there are several factors that could affect Taiwan’s exports this year, including China’s export and import performance and when the US will end its quantitative easing policy.

There is some good news, such as an increasing economic recovery in Europe, the official said.

Meanwhile, the nation’s export orders are expected to continue to grow last month on the back of the rising popularity of handheld devices in the global market, the ministry said on Saturday.

The ministry said solid demand for low and mid-range smartphones in the global market is expected to prompt foreign buyers to place large orders on Taiwan-made semiconductors and other electronics components as the country serves as one of the most important suppliers to international brands.

In addition, the ministry said demand for petrochemical products in the global market has shown signs of recovering and Taiwan’s exporters are expected to benefit.

The ministry is scheduled to release last month’s export order data on Wednesday.

In July, export orders rose 0.5 percent from a year earlier to US$36.11 billion, marking the first year-on-year growth in export orders since January, when the figure was up 18 percent from a year ago.