Taipei, May 15 (CNA) Taiwan is well-positioned to take advantage of changing consumer trends in Japan, where people have been spending less because of macroeconomic uncertainties, a trade promotion official said at a Taiwan-Japan procurement meeting in Taipei Tuesday.
"We found that Japanese people have made some changes in their consumption patterns in light of the rising Japanese yen, the slowing economy and the impact of last year's earthquake," said Chao Yung-chuan, secretary-general of the Taiwan External Trade Development Council.
"In the past, Japanese consumers preferred higher-priced and high-quality goods, but now they have turned to affordable and more practical products," he said at a "Taiwan-Japan Procurement Meeting" in Taipei.
Chao noted that Taiwan has always been good at manufacturing relatively high-quality products at competitive prices, which could give it an edge as the situation in Japan changes.
"Now is the perfect time to supply Japanese firms with these affordable products," he said.
Representatives of 50 large Japanese enterprises, including Toyota Tsusho Corp., Kobe Bussan Co. and Daiwa House Industry Co., attended the meeting and were expected to buy products from some 300 Taiwanese businesses.
The items they are interested in include food, flowers, auto parts, electronic components, machinery and building materials.
Last year, intermediate goods accounted for 72 percent of Taiwan's total exports to Japan. Consumer products accounted for another 17.6 percent and manufacturing equipment was 7.8 percent of the total, according to Chao.
In the first quarter of 2012, however, the share of intermediate goods in the overall total fell by 14 percentage points year-on-year, while that of consumer products rose 10.5 percentage points, an indication that Taiwan has the potential to meet Japanese consumers' needs, Chao said.
According to government statistics, Japan is Taiwan's second biggest trade partner, with bilateral trade exceeding US$70 billion in 2011.
Taiwan's exports to Japan totaled US$18.23 billion in 2011, accounting for 6 percent of the country's total exports and making Japan Taiwan's fourth largest export market behind China, Hong Kong and the United States.
(By Jeffrey Wu)