President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday reassured the public that Taiwan’s economic fundamentals are strong enough to withstand the effects of an increase in US tariffs on certain Chinese products, but called on overseas Taiwanese firms to return home amid a renewed trade war between the US and China.
“Starting today, the US is to increase tariffs on US$200 billion of Chinese goods from 10 percent to 25 percent, which could have a tremendous impact on the world economy,” Tsai told a news conference following a high-level national security meeting to discuss countermeasures as Washington and Beijing enter a new round of tariffs.
Fortunately, the trade war’s effects on Taiwan remain limited, given that the goods covered by current punitive US tariffs do not include Taiwan’s main export products, she said.
Taiwan’s solid economic foundation in the past few years would also allow it to better respond to the heightened trade conflict between the world’s two largest economies, she added.
Tsai cited as examples the nation’s 12 consecutive quarters of economic growth, increased overseas investment and more than NT$250 billion (US$8.1 billion) of repatriated investments by Taiwanese businesses so far this year.
As the ongoing US-China trade war is bound to affect the existing global trading order and supply chain, Taiwan must choose the correct path for economic development, she said.
“Our goals are to expedite the return of overseas Taiwanese businesses, rebuild our high added-value industries, facilitate comprehensive industrial upgrading and push for the signing of a bilateral trade agreement with the US that adheres to the principles of free and fair trade,” Tsai said.
The government would also work to replace products manufactured in China with those of high value and quality made in Taiwan, seeking to turn the nation into a major exporter of goods to the US, she said.
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