Despite rising political tension with China, Taiwan's reliance on the Chinese market is growing fast and there are no signs of cooling, according to government statistics released yesterday.
Trade dependence on the Chi-nese market for the first nine months of this year reached 25.9 percent, meaning that more than one-quarter of outbound shipments went there, according to tallies compiled by a panel in charge of monitoring cross-strait trade under the Council for Economic Planning and Development.
If exports to Hong Kong and Macau are added, the ratio would surge to 37 percent for the January-September period, the statistics indicated, underscoring the fact that China has become Taiwan's major market with a trade surplus.
As China has emerged as a major global manufacturing base and economic powerhouse, trade dependence on that market has jumped tremendously, the statistics showed.
In terms of industry, precision machinery exports to China rose from 1.9 percent of the country's overall outbound shipments in 1997 to 10.7 percent last year, while the percentage of the country's electrical and electronics equipment exports grew from 18.1 percent to 39.6 percent over the same period.
However, textile exports to China dropped from 18.3 percent to 6 percent, while the ratio of chemical materials fell from 14.2 percent to 12.7 percent.
Over the past three years, imports from China have also risen, according to the statistics. Inbound shipments accounted for 9.7 percent of Taiwan's total imports during the first nine months.
Under Executive Yuan instructions, the council set up the panel in November last year to monitor cross-strait trade and economic activity. It calls an interministerial meeting each month, with officials from the Mainland Affairs Council, the Council of Agriculture, the Ministry of Economic Affairs and the Ministry of Finance taking part.