Companies less confident about Taiwan's economic outlook: AmCham

01/23/2019 03:22 PM
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AmCham Taipei Chairman Leo Seewald
AmCham Taipei Chairman Leo Seewald

Taipei, Jan. 23 (CNA) Members of the American Chamber of Commerce in Taipei (AmCham Taipei) are significantly less confident than last year about Taiwan's economic outlook over the next 12 months, according to the results of an AmCham survey released Wednesday.

Only 45.8 percent of those surveyed said they were very or somewhat optimistic about the economic outlook for 2019, a 10 percentage-point drop from 2018, according to the annual AmCham Taipei survey.

Major factors causing concern for those companies include the ongoing U.S.-China trade dispute, U.S. President Donald Trump's "America First" trade policy and pressure from China on Taiwan.

AmCham Taipei Chairman Leo Seewald said those geopolitical aspects could lead to instability in the market.

Taking the U.S.-China trade dispute as an example, he said that since so many companies in Taiwan have great interest in both the United States and China, it could cause a negative impact on them.

"Any trade dispute between these two countries means instability and it means uncertainty, and that's why we've all felt that this issue leads to some instability and some lack of confidence in the short term," Seewald said.

The America First policy, meanwhile, limits possibilities for U.S. investment globally, including Taiwan, according to Seewald.

According to the survey, 81 percent of the respondents said they are somewhat or very concerned about the U.S.-China trade dispute.

In addition, Seewald said AmCham members mentioned other key areas of concern, including cybersecurity threats, intellectual property rights infringements, labor and stable power supplies, regardless of Taiwan's decision for its future energy mix.

However, Seewald said that as Taiwan has strong economic fundamentals, these issues should not be too much of a concern in the long run.

Such confidence is reflected on members' viewpoints on the economic prospects in Taiwan over the next three years.

The survey shows that 53.63 percent of the respondents said they are very or somewhat confident of Taiwan's economic growth over the next three years, compared with 50.25 percent in a 2018 survey.

The survey was conducted between Nov. 12 and Dec. 21 last year. Of the 391 eligible respondents, 179 took the survey for a response rate of 45.7 percent.

(By Lee Hsin-Yin)


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