Taiwan lagged behind its major competitors in Asia in terms of merchandise exports last year, although it recorded an increase from 2010, according to a report by the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).
Merchandise exports from Taiwan last year totaled US$308.26 billion, increasing by US$33.62 billion from a year earlier, the UNCTAD Handbook of Statistics 2012, which covers international trade and investment data, showed on Friday.
However, Taiwan’s rivals in Asia, such as Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong and Singapore, recorded higher levels of merchandise exports last year.
Merchandise exports from Japan last year were US$822.56 billion, from South Korea US$556.62 billion, Hong Kong US$428.73 billion and Singapore US$409.53 billion, the data showed.
China was the largest merchandise exporter in the world last year, selling about US$1.9 trillion in goods overseas, ahead of the US with US$1.48 trillion and Germany with US$1.47 trillion.
Over the past 10 years, exports from developing countries have been on the rise and have contributed more to global trade, as economies in Asia have been growing fast on the back of industrialization, the report said.
It said high-tech gadgets, such as computers, communications products and precision components, have dominated the global market, with 65 percent to 70 percent of the devices coming from Asia.
Asia also accounted for 60.1 percent of global exports of products and equipment used in offices.
Major export powers in Asia such as China, Singapore, Taiwan and South Korea have benefited from the trend, it said.
Meanwhile, the UNCTAD report showed that for the first time in more than 40 years, Taiwan registered a negative inflow of foreign direct investments (FDI).
Taiwan’s FDI inflow last year was minus-US$1.96 billion, compared with US$2.49 billion in 2010, according to the statistics.
The UNCTAD report showed that Taiwan’s FDI inflow for 2007 was a record high of US$7.77 billion, up from US$7.42 billion in 2006, but it started to fall after that.
Among Taiwan’s major rivals, Hong Kong’s FDI inflow last year totaled US$83.16 billion, South Korea’s US$46.11 billion and Singapore’s US$64.03 billion. China’s FDI inflow last year rose to US$123.99 billion.