Taiwan’s Top Trading Partners

Taiwan's Top 15 Trading Partners

by Flagpictures.org

Referred to as Chinese Taipei and officially called the Republic of China, the island of Taiwan is surrounded by major trading partners in the People’s Republic of China to its west, Japan to its east and the Philippines to its south.

Taiwan shipped US$317.7 billion worth of products around the globe in 2017. That figure represents roughly 2% of overall global exports estimated at $15.952 trillion one year earlier during 2016.

Three-quarters ( 74.7%) of Taiwanese exports by value were delivered to fellow Asian countries while 13.1% were sold to North American importers. Taiwan ships another 9.2% worth of goods to European clients. Smaller percentages went to Latin America (excluding Mexico) plus the Caribbean at 1.1%, with just 0.6% sent to Africa.

Taiwan’s Top Trading Partners

Top 15

Below is a list showcasing 15 of Taiwan’s top trading partners, countries that imported the most Taiwanese shipments by dollar value during 2017. Also shown is each import country’s percentage of total Taiwanese exports.

  1. China: US$89.1 billion (28% of total Taiwanese exports)
  2. Hong Kong: $41.3 billion (13%)
  3. United States: $37 billion (11.7%)
  4. Japan: $20.8 billion (6.6%)
  5. Singapore: $17.6 billion (5.6%)
  6. South Korea: $14.8 billion (4.6%)
  7. Vietnam: $10.5 billion (3.3%)
  8. Malaysia: $10.4 billion (3.3%)
  9. Philippines: $9.6 billion (3%)
  10. Germany: $6.5 billion (2%)
  11. Thailand: $6.4 billion (2%)
  12. Netherlands: $5 billion (1.6%)
  13. United Kingdom: $3.8 billion (1.2%)
  14. India: $3.3 billion (1%)
  15. Indonesia: $3.2 billion (1%)

Almost nine-tenths (87.9%) of Taiwanese exports in 2017 were delivered to the above 15 trade partners.

All of these top importers increased their purchases from Taiwan from 2016 to 2017. Fastest-increases were for Malaysia (up 32.3%), China (up 20.5%), India (up 17%), Thailand and Indonesia (both up 16.4%).

Posting the most modest improvements were the United Kingdom (up 4%) and Japan (up 6.4%).

Deficits

As defined by Investopedia, a country whose total value of all imported goods is higher than its value of all exports is said to have a negative trade balance or deficit.

It would be unrealistic for any exporting nation to expect across-the-board positive trade balances with all its importing partners. Similarly, that export country doesn’t necessarily post a negative trade balance with each individual partner with which it exchanges exports and imports.

Taiwan incurred the highest trade deficits with the following countries:

  1. Japan: -US$21.2 billion (country-specific trade deficit in 2017)
  2. Saudi Arabia: -$5.8 billion
  3. Australia: -$5.1 billion
  4. Kuwait: -$3.4 billion
  5. Germany: -$2.7 billion
  6. United Arab Emirates: -$2.5 billion
  7. Qatar: -$2.5 billion
  8. France: -$2.3 billion
  9. Russia: -$2.2 billion
  10. South Korea: -$2.2 billion

Among Taiwan’s trading partners that cause the greatest negative trade balances, Taiwan’s deficits with United Arab Emirates (up 102.4%), Australia (up 70.5%) and France (up 46.5%) grew at the fastest pace from 2016 to 2017.

These cashflow deficiencies clearly indicate Taiwan’s competitive disadvantages with the above countries, but also represent key opportunities for Taiwan to develop country-specific strategies to strengthen its overall position in international trade.

Surpluses

Overall Taiwan generated a $58 billion trade surplus from all goods bought and sold on international markets during 2017, up 17.2% from the $49.5 billion surplus for 2016.

Based on Investopedia’s definition of net importer, a country whose total value of all imported goods is lower than its value of all exports is said to have a positive trade balance or surplus.

Taiwan incurred the highest trade surpluses with the following countries:

  1. Hong Kong: US$39.8 billion (country-specific trade surplus in 2017)
  2. China: $39 billion
  3. Singapore: $8.9 billion
  4. Vietnam: $7.4 billion
  5. Philippines: $7.2 billion
  6. United States: $6.5 billion
  7. Malaysia: $3.2 billion
  8. Thailand: $2 billion
  9. United Kingdom: $1.8 billion
  10. Mexico: $1.6 billion

Among Taiwan’s trading partners that generate the greatest positive trade balances, Taiwan’s surpluses with Malaysia (up 104.4%), Mexico (up 41.5%) and United States (up 36.2%) grew at the fastest pace from 2016 to 2017.

These positive cashflow streams clearly indicate Taiwan’s competitive advantages with the above countries, but also represent key opportunities for Taiwan to develop country-specific strategies to optimize its overall position in international trade.

Companies

Companies Servicing Taiwanese Trading Partners

Forty-seven corporations rank among Forbes Global 2000. Below is a sample of the major Taiwanese companies that Forbes included:

  • Advanced Semiconductor (semiconductors)
  • Asustek Computer (computer hardware)
  • Cheng Shin Rubber Industry Co. (automotive parts)
  • China Steel (iron, steel)
  • Delta Electronics (electronics)
  • Formosa Chemicals (specialized chemicals)
  • Formosa Petrochemical (oil, gas)
  • Formosa Plastics (specialized chemicals)
  • Hon Hai Precision (electronics)
  • Mediatek (semiconductors)
  • Nan Ya Plastics (diversified chemicals)
  • Pegatron (electronics)
  • Quanta Computer (computer hardware)
  • Taiwan Semiconductor (semiconductors)
  • Uni-President (food processing)

According to IMPORTERS.com listings for Taiwanese suppliers, the following are companies that ship products from Taiwan to its trading partners around the globe. Shown within parenthesis are examples of products that the Taiwanese business provides.

  • Ever Honor Industries, Inc (food coloring, additives)
  • Fuho Technology Co Ltd (vehicle video recorders)
  • Hoya International Co, Ltd (industrial tools)
  • Intertrust Corporation (aerosol can goods )
  • J&A Information Inc (computer memory products)
  • Li Jun Enterprise Co, Ltd (marine diesel engines, parts)
  • Lian Jeng Co (milling machines)
  • Paichang Corporation (electronics, e-cigarettes)
  • Stars Navigation Technologies Ltd (GPS, tracking equipment)
  • Weld Want Group Co, Ltd (super glue, adhesives)


 

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

Research Sources:
The World Factbook, Field Listing: Imports – Commodities, Central Intelligence Agency. Accessed on March 8, 2018

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

Investopedia, Net Importer Definition. Accessed on March 8, 2018

Forbes 2015 Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on March 8, 2018

IMPORTERS.com The Online Market for G20 Importers, Taiwan Import Export Directory. Accessed on March 8, 2018