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U.S.-China trade war will hit Taiwan: experts

2018/07/11 22:43:18

File photo / photo courtesy of China News Service

Taipei, July 11 (CNA) Local economic experts on Wednesday called on the government to devise strategies to contain the fallout from the United States' trade war with China which they said is certain to impact Taiwan.

Earlier Wednesday, Vice Minister of Economic Affairs Wang Mei-hua (王美花) had said the latest announcement on Tuesday by the U.S. that it plans to impose 10 percent tariffs on another U$$200 billion of Chinese exports as soon as September, would have only limited impact on Taiwan.

In contrast, Liu Meng-chun (劉孟俊), director of the first research division of Taiwan's Chung-Hua Institution for Economic Research, said it is unlikely Taiwan will escape unscathed from the trade war.

The direct negative effects of the trade war on Taiwan should be minimal in the sense that information, communication and technology products, the main exports of Taiwanese companies in China, are not on the list of products targeted by U.S. import tariffs, Liu said.

However, a protracted U.S.-China trade war would create uncertainties for the global economy, which is still in the early stages of recovery, that will discourage new investment and thus constrain economic growth.

Given weak demand at home, Taiwan's economic growth has relied on steady global economic recovery, Liu said, adding that a slowing down of that recovery will affect Taiwan.

The latest U.S. measures against China came after the U.S. on July 6 imposed a punitive 25 percent tariff on US$34 billion worth of Chinese machinery, electronics and high-tech equipment, while saying that another round of tariffs on US$16 billion worth of trade would likely take effect in two weeks.

Chen Tain-jy (陳添枝), a professor of economics at National Taiwan University and former head of the National Development Council, said he expected Beijing to take retaliatory measures against the U.S. the effects of which are bound to be felt by the U.S., Taiwan and other countries.

The fact the U.S. has announced three rounds of tariffs on China after months of talks between the sides suggests Washington is not happy with the concessions China had offered during their negotiations, Chen said.

It is likely the U.S. tariffs will spark retaliation from China rather than force it to offer more concessions because Beijing will not want to appear weak, Chen said, urging the government to come up with strategies to deal with the potential repercussions if and when China retaliates.

(By Chu Tze-wei and Shih Hsiu-chuan)
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