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$286.5 billion worth of goods from supplier located around the globe in 2018. That dollar amount reflects a 4.7% acceleration since 2014 and a 10.3% uptick from 2017 to 2018.

From a continental perspective, almost three-quarters (64.9%) of Taiwan’s total imports by value in 2018 were purchased from fellow Asian countries. North American trade partners satisfied 13.2% of import purchases by Taiwan while 12.1% worth of products originated from Europe. Smaller percentages came from Oceania (4%) led by Australia, Latin America (1.5%) excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean, and Africa (0.9%).

Given Taiwan’s population of 23.5 million people, its total $286.5 billion in 2018 imports translates to roughly $12,200 in yearly product demand from every person in the East Asian island country.

Taiwan’s Top 10 Imports

Top 10

The following product groups represent the highest dollar value in Taiwan’s import purchases during 2018. Also shown is the percentage share each product category represents in terms of overall imports into Taiwan.

  1. Mineral fuels including oil: US$51.4 billion (18% of total imports)
  2. Iron, steel: $9.6 billion (3.3%)
  3. Organic chemicals: $10.5 billion (3.7%)
  4. Electrical machinery, equipment: $75.4 billion (26.3%)
  5. Vehicles: $8.7 billion (3%)
  6. Plastics, plastic articles: $7.6 billion (2.7%)
  7. Optical, technical, medical apparatus: $11.4 billion (4%)
  8. Other chemical goods: $6.6 billion (2.3%)
  9. Machinery including computers: $35.2 billion (12.3%)
  10. Copper: $5.6 billion (2%)

Taiwan’s top 10 imports accounted for over three-quarters (77.6%) of the overall value of its product purchases from other countries.

Fastest-growing among these top import categories from 2017 to 2018 were mineral fuels including oil (up 27.1%), iron or steel metals (up 20.2%), organic chemicals (up 13.1%) then electrical machinery and equipment (up 12%).

The lone decline among the listed categories was the -0.9% dip for Taiwan’s exported copper.

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

Taiwanese importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of electrical equipment including consumer electronics.

  1. Integrated circuits/microassemblies: US$50.8 billion (up 16.4% from 2017)
  2. Phone system devices including smartphones: $5 billion (down -9.7%)
  3. Solar power diodes/semi-conductors: $2.8 billion (down -6%)
  4. Printed circuits: $1.7 billion (up 12.4%)
  5. Lower-voltage switches, fuses: $1.7 billion (up 20.9%)
  6. Electrical converters/power units: $1.6 billion (up 10.6%)
  7. Unrecorded sound media: $1.6 billion (up 7.4%)
  8. Electrical capacitators: $1.5 billion (up 25.8%)
  9. Electrical/optical circuit boards, panels: $945.7 million (up 13.7%)
  10. TV/radio/radar device parts: $931.7 million (down -0.7%)

Among these import subcategories, Taiwanese purchases of electrical capacitators (up 25.8%), lower-voltage switches or fuses (up 20.9%) then integrated circuits and microassemblies (up 16.4%) grew at the fastest pace from 2017 to 2018.

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

Taiwanese importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of mineral fuels-related products.

  1. Crude oil: US$23.4 billion (up 38.3% from 2017)
  2. Processed petroleum oils: $10.1 billion (up 12.1%)
  3. Petroleum gases: $9 billion (up 28.4%)
  4. Coal, solid fuels made from coal: $8.1 billion (up 19.3%)
  5. Coal tar oils (high temperature distillation): $696.8 million (up 14.8%)
  6. Coke, semi-coke: $107.1 million (up 32.3%)
  7. Petroleum oil residues: $67.8 million (down -13.2%)
  8. Petroleum jelly, mineral waxes: $41 million (up 2.7%)
  9. Tar pitch, coke: $2.3 million (up 25%)
  10. Peat: $2.3 million (down -37.7%)

Among these import subcategories, Taiwanese purchases of crude oil (up 38.3%), coke or semi-coke (up 32.3%) then petroleum gases (up 28.4%) grew at the fastest pace from 2017 to 2018.

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

Taiwanese importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of machines including computers.

  1. Machinery for making semi-conductors: US$11.7 billion (down -6.4% from 2017)
  2. Turbo-jets: $3.9 billion (up 9.3%)
  3. Computers, optical readers: $3.5 billion (up 2%)
  4. Computer parts, accessories: $3.3 billion (up 12%)
  5. Miscellaneous machinery: $1.1 billion (up 18.5%)
  6. Centrifuges, filters and purifiers: $1.1 billion (up 20.2%)
  7. Taps, valves, similar appliances: $907.2 million (up 10.7%)
  8. Air or vacuum pumps: $882.2 million (up 1.2%)
  9. Temperature-change machines: $566.8 million (up 8.4%)
  10. Printing machinery: $542.4 million (down -0.1%)

Among these import subcategories, Taiwanese purchases of centrifuges, filters and purifiers (up 20.2%), miscellaneous machinery (up 18.5%) then computer parts or accessories (up 12%) grew at the fastest pace from 2017 to 2018.

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

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

  1. Oscilloscopes, spectrum analyzers: US$3.6 billion (up 20.1% from 2017)
  2. Other measuring/testing machines: $1.8 billion (down -8.9%)
  3. Liquid crystal/laser/optical tools: $1 billion (up 10.7%)
  4. Electro-medical equip (e.g. xrays): $962 million (down -1.8%)
  5. Optical fiber cables, sheets, plates: $940.4 million (down -10%)
  6. Physical/chemical analysis tools: $644.8 million (up 6.6%)
  7. X-ray equipment: $373.7 million (up 127.8%)
  8. Lenses, prisms, mirrors: $367.8 million (down -3%)
  9. Orthopedic appliances: $365.7 million (up 12.8%)
  10. Liquid/gas checking instruments: $292.7 million (up 10.3%)

Among these import subcategories, Taiwanese purchases of x-ray equipment (up 127.8%), oscilloscopes and spectrum analyzers (up 20.1%) then orthopedic appliances (up 12.8%) grew at the fastest pace from 2017 to 2018.

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 24, 2019

Trade Map, International Trade Centre. Accessed on March 24, 2019

Wikipedia, List of Companies of Taiwan. Accessed on March 24, 2019

Zepol’s company summary highlights by country. Accessed on March 30, 2016