Taiwan’s Top 10 Imports

Cingjing, Taiwan

Cingjing, Taiwan

An East Asian island surrounded by the People’s Republic of China, Japan and the Philippines, Taiwan imported US$259.6 billion worth of goods from supplier located around the globe in 2017. That dollar amount reflects a -3.9% decrease since 2013 but a 12.4% uptick from 2016 to 2017.

From a continental perspective, almost three-quarters (64.7%) of Taiwan’s total imports by value in 2017 were purchased from fellow Asian countries. North American trade partners supplied 12.6% of import sales to Taiwan while 12.1% worth of products originated from Europe. At 3.9%, Oceanian exporters led by Australia accounted for a smaller percentage of Taiwan’s overall import purchases.

Given Taiwan’s population of 23.5 million people, its total $259.6 billion in 2017 imports translates to roughly $11,000 in yearly product demand from every person in the country.

Taiwan’s Top 10 Imports

Top 10

The following product groups represent the highest dollar value in Taiwan’s import purchases during 2017. Also shown is the percentage share each product category represents in terms of overall imports into Taiwan.

  1. Electrical machinery, equipment: US$67.4 billion (26% of total imports)
  2. Mineral fuels including oil: $40.5 billion (15.6%)
  3. Machinery including computers: $34.7 billion (13.4%)
  4. Optical, technical, medical apparatus: $10.6 billion (4.1%)
  5. Organic chemicals: $9.3 billion (3.6%)
  6. Iron, steel: $8 billion (3.1%)
  7. Vehicles: $8 billion (3.1%)
  8. Plastics, plastic articles: $7 billion (2.7%)
  9. Other chemical goods: $6.2 billion (2.4%)
  10. Copper: $5.7 billion (2.2%)

Taiwan’s top 10 imports accounted for over three-quarters (76%) of the overall value of its product purchases from other countries.

Fastest-growing among these top import categories from 2016 to 2017 are copper (up 30.8%), mineral fuels including oil (up 27%), organic chemicals (up 26.4%) and iron or steel products (up 23.8%).

Please note that the results listed above are at the 2-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level. Information presented under other virtual folder tabs is at the more granular 4-digit level.

Electronics

In 2017, Taiwanese importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of electronic equipment including consumer electronics:

  1. Integrated circuits/microassemblies: US$43.6 billion (up 20% from 2016)
  2. Phone system devices including smartphones: $5.5 billion (up 11.2%)
  3. Solar power diodes/semi-conductors: $2.9 billion (down -0.7%)
  4. Printed circuits: $1.6 billion (up 7.8%)
  5. Unrecorded sound media: $1.5 billion (up 16.6%)
  6. Electrical converters/power units: $1.5 billion (up 10%)
  7. Lower-voltage switches, fuses: $1.4 billion (up 11.1%)
  8. Electrical capacitators: $1.2 billion (up 10.3%)
  9. TV/radio/radar device parts: $937.9 million (up 9.7%)
  10. Electrical/optical circuit boards, panels: $831.9 million (up 12.4%)

Among these import subcategories, Taiwan’s purchases of integrated circuits or microassemblies (up 20%), unrecorded sound media (up 16.6%) and electrical or optical circuit boards and panels (up 12.4%) grew at the fastest pace from 2016 to 2017.

These amounts and the percentage gains within parenthesis clearly show where the strongest demand lies for different types of imported electronics among Taiwanese businesses and consumers.

Fuel

In 2017, Taiwanese importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of mineral fuels-related products:

  1. Crude oil: US$16.9 billion (up 31% from 2016)
  2. Processed petroleum oils: $9 billion (up 12.1%)
  3. Petroleum gases: $7 billion (up 23.1%)
  4. Coal, solid fuels made from coal: $6.8 billion (up 50.5%)
  5. Coal tar oils (high temperature distillation): $606.9 million (down -2.8%)
  6. Coke, semi-coke: $81 million (up 80.9%)
  7. Petroleum oil residues: $78.1 million (up 113.5%)
  8. Petroleum jelly, mineral waxes: $39.9 million (down -28.5%)
  9. Peat: $3.7 million (up 83%)
  10. Tar pitch, coke: $1.9 million (down -16.5%)

Among these import subcategories, Taiwan’s purchases of petroleum oil residues (up 113.5%), peat (up 83%) and coke or semi-coke (up 80.9%) grew at the fastest pace from 2016 to 2017.

These amounts and the percentage gains within parenthesis clearly show where the strongest demand lies for different types of imported fossil fuels-related products among Taiwanese businesses and consumers.

Machinery

In 2017, Taiwanese importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of machines including computers:

  1. Machinery for making semi-conductors: US$12.5 billion (down -11.5% from 2016)
  2. Turbo-jets: $3.5 billion (up 32.2%)
  3. Computers, optical readers: $3.5 billion (up 15.2%)
  4. Computer parts, accessories: $2.9 billion (up 52.7%)
  5. Miscellaneous machinery: $907.4 million (down -17.6%)
  6. Centrifuges, filters and purifiers: $876.9 million (up 5.2%)
  7. Air or vacuum pumps: $871.6 million (up 5.8%)
  8. Taps, valves, similar appliances: $819.8 million (up 8.4%)
  9. Printing machinery: $542.8 million (down -2.4%)
  10. Temperature-change machines: $523.2 million (up 28.1%)

Among these import subcategories, Taiwan’s purchases of computer parts or accessories (up 52.7%), turbo-jets (up 32.2%) and temperature-change machines (up 28.1%) grew at the fastest pace from 2016 to 2017.

These amounts and the percentage gains within parenthesis clearly show where the strongest demand lies for different types of imported machinery among Taiwanese businesses and consumers.

MedTech

In 2017, Taiwanese importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of optical, technical and medical equipment:

  1. Oscilloscopes, spectrum analyzers: US$3 billion (up 2.2% from 2016)
  2. Other measuring/testing machines: $1.9 billion (up 6.1%)
  3. Optical fiber cables, sheets, plates: $1 billion (up 8.9%)
  4. Electro-medical equip (e.g. xrays): $979.3 million (up 10.8%)
  5. Liquid crystal/laser/optical tools: $921.1 million (up 1.7%)
  6. Physical/chemical analysis tools: $604.8 million (up 4.1%)
  7. Lenses, prisms, mirrors: $379.1 million (down -0.4%)
  8. Orthopedic appliances: $324.2 million (up 4.1%)
  9. Liquid/gas checking instruments: $265.3 million (up 14.5%)
  10. Regulate/control instruments: $247.7 million (down -2.9%)

Among these import subcategories, Taiwan’s purchases of liquid or gas checking instruments (up 14.5%), electro-medical equipment including xrays (up 10.8%) and optical fiber cables, sheets or plates (up 8.9%) grew at the fastest pace from 2016 to 2017.

These amounts and the percentage gains within parenthesis clearly show where the strongest demand lies for different types of imported optical, technical and medical equipment among Taiwanese businesses and consumers.



 

See also Taiwan’s Top Trading Partners, Taiwan’s Top 10 Exports and Top Asian Export Countries

Research Sources:
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on March 8, 2018

The World Factbook, Country Profiles, Central Intelligence Agency. Accessed on March 8, 2018

Trade Map, International Trade Centre, www.intracen.org/marketanalysis. Accessed on March 8, 2018