Total trade value at the nation’s free-trade zones is expected to top NT$1 trillion (US$36 billion) this year thanks to rising prices of components associated with chips, the Ministry of Transportation and Communications said last week.
The nation has seven free-trade zones in the ports of Keelung, Suao, Taipei, Taichung, Anping and Kaohsiung, and at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport.
Since the ministry began administering the free-trade zones in 2009, trade value at the zones has been growing at an average rate of 18 percent annually, Department of Aviation and Navigation Deputy Director-General Han Chen-hua (韓振華) told a news conference.
Trade volume has also been growing at about 16 percent annually, he said.
Trade value at the zones from January to July totaled NT$679.8 billion, up 38.5 percent from the same period last year.
“Trade value last year and in 2019 was about NT$900 billion. Should trade value continue to grow at the current rate, it could potentially surpass NT$1 trillion, which would be a historic high,” Han said, adding that the performance is remarkable given that the COVID-19 pandemic has severely disrupted global supply chains, and led to labor and container shortages.
Trade value was mainly generated by the free-trade zone at the airport which houses electronic component manufacturers, the department said.
The airport free-trade zone generated trade value of NT$484.1 billion from January to July, as robust demand for computer chips led to overall price increases in electronic components, it said.
The re-exportation of components used in the auto industry and petrochemical products also rose in the free-trade zones near the seaports, with trade value totaling NT$195.8 billion between January and July, department data showed.
New infrastructure would be built at the free-trade zones in view of new business opportunities created by changes to global supply chains, the department said.
Farglory FTZ, the contractor in charge of developing the airport free-trade zone, is investing NT$5.6 billion to develop added-value logistics, cold chain and express delivery services at the zone, it said.
A 60-hectare plot near the south pier of the Port of Taipei would be used to develop applications involving the use of artificial intelligence and 5G technology, while a 4-hectare plot in the north of the port would be used to develop warehousing and airbridge services, it added.
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