Taiwan world's 16th largest trading economy in 2021: MOF

04/15/2022 02:21 PM
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Taipei, April 15 (CNA) Taiwan ranked 16th among the world's economies in merchandise trade in 2021, its highest ranking in 16 years, due in part to a higher ranking for imports, according to Ministry of Finance (MOF) statistics.

Taiwan had US$446.4 billion in exports and US$381.5 billion in imports in 2021, combining for total trade of US$827.9 billion and a global ranking of 16th, up one notch from a year earlier, the ministry reported Thursday, citing World Trade Organization (WTO) data.

Among the traditional four "Asian Tigers" with high-growth economies in the region, however, Taiwan's total trade in 2021 trailed that of Hong Kong (in sixth place), South Korea (eighth), and Singapore (15th), the MOF report said.

According to the latest global merchandise trade data issued by the WTO, world merchandise exports totaled US$22.3 trillion in 2021, an increase of 26.3 percent from the previous year.

Attributing the growth to the global recovery and higher demand, the MOF said major economies around the world posted higher merchandise exports and imports in 2021 than their levels before the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020.

Taiwan's US$446 billion in merchandise exports accounted for 2.0 percent of total global exports and ranked 16th in the world, down from 15th in 2020.

The nation's US$381 billion in merchandise imports, which accounted for 1.7 percent of the global total, ranked 17th worldwide, up from 18th in 2020, according to the MOF report.

Globally, China exported US$3.4 trillion in goods in 2021, making it the world's biggest exporting country with a 15.1 percent share of global exports.

It was followed by the United States (7.9 percent), Germany (7.3 percent), the Netherlands (3.8 percent), Japan (3.4 percent), and Hong Kong (3.0 percent).

South Korea, Taiwan's main competitor in the global trade market, reported US$644 billion in merchandise exports, accounting for 2.9 percent of world merchandise exports and ranking seventh in the world, according to MOF data.

The world's top five importing countries in 2021 were the U.S., China, Germany, Japan, and the Netherlands.

The MOF report also looked at how global trade has evolved over the past decade and China's increasing export prominence.

It said China has been the world's largest exporter since 2009, "benefiting from its dominating manufacturing supply chain around the world and actively participating in regional economic and trade integration."

From 2011 to 2021, China's share of global exports rose 4.7 percentage points (pp), compared to 0.5 pp for Hong Kong, and 0.3 pp for Taiwan.

Japan and Germany's share of exports during the same period fell 1.1 pp and 0.7 pp, respectively, and export shares of the U.S., Singapore, and South Korea edged lower by 0.2 pp, 0.1 pp and 0.1 pp, respectively, the MOF report said.

(By Chang Ai and Elizabeth Hsu)


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