Machine tool industry, other sectors will benefit if Taiwan joins CPTPP: Tsai

02/21/2022 06:18 PM
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President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文, center). CNA photo Feb. 21, 2022
President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文, center). CNA photo Feb. 21, 2022

Taipei, Feb. 21 (CNA) President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said Monday that the machine tool industry is one of the domestic sectors that will be able to overcome tariff and trade barriers if Taiwan succeeds in its bid to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).

Speaking at the opening of a machine tool trade show in Taipei, Tsai said the machine tool industry has a complete self-sustaining industry chain and is one of the main drivers of Taiwan's economic growth.

The sector comprises mainly small and medium-sized enterprises that have a great spirit of innovation and have achieved major breakthroughs, Tsai at the joint Taipei International Machine Tool Show (TIMTOS) and Taiwan International Machine Tool Show (TMTS).

She noted that in 2020, the machinery and machine tools industry was part of a national team that was assembled to quickly boost Taiwan's face mask production capacity during a shortage due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In 2021, the output value of Taiwan's machinery sector climbed to NT$1.3 trillion (US$46.71 billion), and its exports have been growing steadily over the past 17 months, she said, adding that the industry provides more than 300,000 jobs.

Noting that several of the CPTPP's 11 member nations currently buy Taiwan-made machinery and machine tools, Tsai said her administration will do its best to seek Taiwan's admission to the Asia-Pacific trading bloc that represents 495 million consumers and 13.5 percent of the global economy.

CNA photo Feb. 21, 2022
CNA photo Feb. 21, 2022

If Taiwan succeeds in joining the CPTPP, the machinery and machine tools industry, along with other domestic sectors, will benefit, as they will be well positioned to overcome tariff and trade barriers, which will boost their international competitiveness, Tsai said.

She also said Taiwan should be moving in the direction of developing smart manufacturing solutions to cope with geopolitical changes and achieve its goal of becoming a carbon neutral country by 2050.

To that end, Tsai said, Taiwan should assemble a national team that will incorporate information and communication technology, smart manufacturing technology, and the machinery industries.

The government will help domestic industries explore new opportunities, she said, pointing to existing possibilities as a result of Vietnam, Malaysia and Indonesia's current aggressive development of Internet of Things (IoT) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) applications.

Meanwhile, Taiwan Association of Machinery Industry Chairman Larry Wei (魏燦文) said at the opening of the trade show that purchase orders of about US$1.2 billion-US$1.7 billion are expected during the six-day event.

The show, staged jointly by TIMTOS and TMTS for the first time, is being held onsite, with some virtual exchanges.

At the physical site, 5,100 booths by 950 exhibitors opened at the Taipei Nangang exhibition center Monday. Meanwhile, more than 1,000 international buyers in 62 countries have registered for the online procurement sessions for global machinery.

According to Wei, the output value of Taiwan's machine tools is expected to reach NT$108.2 billion this year, and the machinery industry is aiming for an annual output of NT$2 trillion in the future.

In 2021, Taiwan's machinery industry's output was NT$1.3 trillion, while its exports grew by an annual 27 percent to a record US$33.14 billion.

Exports of machine tools alone totaled US$2.78 billion in 2021, up 29.1 percent from a year earlier, and they are expected to exceed US$3 billion this year.

Taiwan's major machinery exports include machine tools, power transmission equipment and key components for machinery equipment, including ball screws and linear guides.

(By Chung Jung-feng and Evelyn Kao)

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