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Trade official warns of over-reliance on ICT exports

2012/05/24 17:27:51

Taipei, May 24 (CNA) Taiwan's exports are focused alarmingly heavily on information and communication technology products, a trade official said Thursday, concerned that the Greece debt crisis could destabilize the economy of the eurozone, which would have a global impact.

Exports could be seriously affected if, for example, the country's only smartphone exporter and maker -- HTC -- encounters problems such as delayed new product launches or obstruction from other competitors, Chang Chun-fu, a spokesman for the Bureau of Foreign Trade (BOFT), told CNA.

One Taiwanese computer disc maker has already been facing similar problems to this in India, Chang said.

Taiwan's major trade rival, South Korea, on the other hand, has strong steel, automobile, cultural creative and tourism industries, in addition to its competitive ICT sector, the official pointed out. This means business cycles and situations that affect individual regions and individual products are less likely to have an impact on its overall economy, he said.

The BOFT has launched a program in a bid to help local businesses establish footholds around the world instead of concentrating on one single market or product, Chang said.

However, the results of these efforts to expand markets in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and the Middle East might not be seen for some time, since some countries in these regions require complex certification for imports, Chang added.

Meanwhile, Europe's economic outlook is unlikely to improve in the short term, and this will affect not only Taiwan's exports to the EU but also to China, Taiwan's largest source of export orders, said Chang.

Taiwan's overall exports to China declined in April, except for ICT products, which jumped by 10 percent, Chang went on, citing recently released statistics.

Moreover, export orders -- an indication of shipments in the next one to three months -- from Europe, Japan and China all fell in value, with a 3.52 percent year-on-year decrease in total orders, the biggest single-month drop in 2.5 years, according to the statistics.

Domestic demand in Europe, China's largest export market, could drop if the EU adopts further austerity measures, Chang continued. This could prompt China in turn to cut back on imports from Taiwan due to falling domestic buying power resulting from the EU's slowing economy, he added.

(By Lin Meng-ju and Kendra Lin)