Taipei, May 13 (CNA) The government has said it will act within the next week to stimulate trade with key partners following Taiwan's reporting negative export growth during the first four months of this year.
The announcement came shortly after Economics Minister Shih Yen-shiang convened a cross-ministry meeting on Saturday, inviting academic and business representatives to study how to address the decline in Taiwan's exports to major markets.
At the meeting, Shih asked officials of the Bureau of Foreign Trade and the Industrial Development Bureau to propose substantial measures within one week to boost total trade volume.
The minister also concluded that government authorities should take action, such as accelerating trade talks between Taiwan and China as called for in the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement signed in 2010.
Further, the government is expected to offer help to those industries that assure the country's long-term competitiveness, to stabilize the exchange rate of the Taiwan dollar and to expand purchases from foreign buyers, Shih said.
From January to April this year, the country's exports fell 4.7 percent from last year to US$96.37 billion, while imports fell 3.8 percent to US$90.02 billion, according to the ministry.
Taiwan's exports to China and Hong Kong suffered the worst contraction, falling 10.2 percent compared with the same period last year, representing a loss of US$4.23 billion in exports to the region, the ministry reported.
Officials said this regional decline accounted for 90 percent of the annual loss of US$4.71 billion in Taiwan's total exports during the first four months of 2012.
In addition, the country's exports to the United States, Japan and Europe declined 9.7 percent, 7.8 percent and 4.2 percent, respectively, from one year earlier.
(By Jeffrey Wu)