Taiwan ranked 16th among the world’s economies in merchandise trade last year, its highest ranking in 16 years, due in part to a higher ranking for imports, the Ministry of Finance said on Thursday.
Taiwan had US$827.9 billion in total merchandise trade last year, lifting it one notch in the rankings from a year earlier, the ministry said in a report, citing WTO data.
Among the four traditional Asian Tigers with high-growth economies, Taiwan’s total trade last year trailed that of Hong Kong (in sixth place), South Korea (eighth) and Singapore (15th), the report said.
World merchandise exports totaled US$22.3 trillion last year, an increase of 26.3 percent from the previous year, the WTO’s latest global merchandise trade data showed.
The ministry attributed the growth to the global recovery and higher demand.
Major world economies posted higher merchandise exports and imports than before the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020, it said.
The nation’s US$446.4 billion in merchandise exports accounted for 2 percent of global exports, ranking it 16th in the world, down from 15th in 2020, while its US$381.5 billion in merchandise imports accounted for 1.7 percent of the global total, ranking it 17th worldwide, up from 18th in 2020, the report said.
China exported US$3.4 trillion in goods last year, making it the world’s biggest exporting country with a 15.1 percent share of global exports.
It was followed by the US (7.9 percent), Germany (7.3 percent), the Netherlands (3.8 percent), Japan (3.4 percent) and Hong Kong (3.0 percent).
South Korea, Taiwan’s main competitor in the global trade market, reported US$644 billion in merchandise exports, accounting for 2.9 percent of world merchandise exports and ranking seventh worldwide, it showed.
The world’s top five importing countries last year were the US, China, Germany, Japan and the Netherlands.
The report also looked at how global trade has evolved over the past decade and China’s increasing export prominence.
China has been the world’s largest exporter since 2009, “benefiting from its domination of manufacturing supply chains and participating in regional economic and trade integration,” it said.
From 2011 to last year, China’s share of global exports rose 4.7 percentage points, compared with Hong Kong’s 0.5 percentage points and Taiwan’s 0.3 percentage points.
Japan and Germany’s share of exports during the same period fell 1.1 and 0.7 percentage points respectively, and export shares of the US, Singapore and South Korea edged lower by 0.2, 0.1 and 0.1 percentage points respectively, the report said.
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