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German companies in Taiwan benefiting from ECFA: survey

2012/07/24 16:37:35

Taipei, July 24 (CNA) Many German companies in Taiwan have already benefited from improved economic relations between Taiwan and China and expect to further capitalize on the region's business potential, according to a survey released Tuesday.

The survey, conducted by the German Trade Office Taipei in cooperation with Germany Trade & Invest, interviewed 208 German companies in Taiwan from May 14 to June 8 this year.

Some 35 percent of respondents said they have benefited from import tariff reductions included in the "early-harvest list" of the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) signed between Taiwan and China in 2010, and 51 percent expect to benefit from further tariff reductions.

Almost half of the companies hoped for more import tariff reductions in the future, while 41 percent saw the further opening of trade in services as desirable and 37 percent hoped that employees from China could enter Taiwan more easily.

In response to the improved conditions across the Taiwan Strait, 24 percent of respondents expected their global headquarters to modify their Greater China strategies, such as entering the Chinese market in cooperation with more Taiwanese companies.

"They see new business opportunities in Taiwan but also in the region," Roland Wein, executive director of the German Trade Office Taipei, said at a press conference.

The results also show that Taiwan remains an attractive market primarily for sales/marketing and services, but German companies said recruiting and retaining qualified staff remained a serious challenge.

Nearly one-fourth of the respondents ranked Taiwan among their three most important foreign markets for sales and profit, while 62 percent of respondents reported a turnover of more than NT$100 million (US$3.32 million) in 2011.

Just over a quarter (28 percent) of the German companies surveyed said they planned to increase investment in Taiwan in 2012 and 33 percent said they planned to increase their workforces.

In terms of their overall economic outlook for Taiwan, only 24 percent of respondents expected Taiwan's economy to improve this year. Another 38 percent said the business outlook would remain unchanged and 38 percent predicted economic conditions would worsen.

(By Jeffrey Wu)