Taipei, Aug. 22 (CNA) Taiwan has emerged as the third-largest beneficiary of a diversion in trade flow as a result of the ongoing trade dispute between the United States and China, following Mexico and Vietnam, according to statistics released Wednesday by the Ministry of Finance (MOF).
Since July 2018, the U.S. has slapped punitive tariffs on US$250 billion-worth of Chinese products, which accounts for 46 percent of U.S. imports from China, according to the MOF.
Due to the negative effects of the trade spat, although China remains the U.S.'s largest source of imports, accounting for 17.73 percent of total imports in the first half of this year, the share was down 2.56 percentage points compared to the same period of last year.
Meanwhile, the proportion of U.S. imports from Mexico, Vietnam and Taiwan rose by 0.82 percentage points, 0.61 percentage points and 0.35 percentage points, respectively, during the first half of this year, according to the report.
As a result of the tariff fight, the U.S. saw a year-on-year fall of 12.4 percent in its imports from China in the first six months of this year.
With rising costs of imports from China, U.S. companies have shifted to importing goods from other countries, with imports from Slovakia registering the biggest year-on-year growth of 107 percent during the period, while imports from Vietnam and Taiwan increased by 33.4 percent and 20.2 percent, respectively, according to the report.
In related developments, Taiwan's government is reinforcing measures to manage exports amid the ongoing U.S.-China trade friction, which has reportedly prompted Chinese companies to sell products to the U.S. via third locations, including Taiwan, by faking the origin of their products.
The government has drafted an amendment to the Foreign Trade Act to increase fines for violations of regulations governing the origin of products from NT$30,000 (US$955)-NT$300,000 to NT$60,000-NT$3 million and add a whistle-blowing clause to the law to prevent products passing through Taiwan to mask their origins, the Ministry of Economic Affairs said Wednesday.
The proposal has been approved by the Cabinet and will be submitted to the Legislative Yuan for review.