Mon, Dec 20, 2004 - Page 4 News List

Economist urges limiting reliance on China's market

CNA , Taipei

Taiwan must stem its high trade dependence on the China market, as the situation is highly risky for the country due to long-standing political feuding between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait, according to an economist.

Chang Chien-i (張建一), a researcher with the Taiwan Institute of Economic Research, made the call while giving a speech at a seminar over the weekend shortly after it was reported that Beijing is planning to enact an "anti-separatism law" in a bid to halt any move toward Taiwan's independence.

According to Chang, Taiwan's trade and economic reliance on the Chinese market hit a high of 34.32 percent last year, meaning that about one-third of Taiwan's total outbound shipments went to China.

The ratio is far higher than South Korea's record of less than 20 percent, Japan's 12.18 percent and the US' 3.93 percent, he said.

Citing Chinese customs statistics, Taiwanese exports to China last year totaled US$49.362 billion, a 20-fold increase over the 1990 level of US$2.255 billion, he said.

Since 2001, China replaced the US as Taiwan's No. 1 export outlet, he said, adding that Taiwanese outbound shipments to China in the first half of this year already exceeded US$30 billion in value.

Such close trade and economic relations represent a looming crisis for Taiwan, a development which he blamed on the long-term political wrangling with China.

The political situation has deprived Taiwan business interests of adequate and normal channels to invest in China, putting them at much greater risk, he said, warning that any uncertain factor in China may in turn pose a grave threat to Taiwan's economic development and its market deployment strategies.

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