Taiwan exported US$447.6 billion worth of goods around the globe in 2021, gaining 41.8% since 2017 and accelerating by 29.1% from 2020 to 2021.
Applying a continental lens, almost three-quarters (72.3%) of Taiwan’s exports by value were delivered to fellow Asian countries.
Another 16.3% was sold to importers in North America. Taiwan shipped 8.7% worth of goods to Europe.
Tinier percentages went to Oceania led by Australia (1.3%), Latin America excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean (0.9%) then Africa (0.5%).
Taiwan’s Top Trading Partners
Below is a list showcasing 25 of Taiwan’s top trading partners, countries that imported the most Taiwanese shipments by dollar value during 2021. Also shown is each import country’s percentage of total Taiwanese exports.
- mainland China: US$126.2 billion (28.2% of Taiwan’s total exports)
- United States: $65.9 billion (14.7%)
- Hong Kong: $63.1 billion (14.1%)
- Japan: $29.3 billion (6.5%)
- Singapore: $25.8 billion (5.8%)
- South Korea: $20.2 billion (4.5%)
- Vietnam: $14 billion (3.1%)
- Malaysia: $13.4 billion (3%)
- Germany: $8.2 billion (1.8%)
- Netherlands: $8.1 billion (1.8%)
- Thailand: $7 billion (1.6%)
- Philippines: $6.1 billion (1.4%)
- Australia: $4.8 billion (1.1%)
- India: $4.5 billion (1%)
- United Kingdom: $4.2 billion (0.9%)
- Mexico: $3.8 billion (0.8%)
- Indonesia: $3.1 billion (0.7%)
- Canada: $3 billion (0.7%)
- Belgium: $2.7 billion (0.6%)
- Italy: $2.6 billion (0.6%)
- Brazil: $1.63 billion (0.4%)
- Spain: $1.62 billion (0.4%)
- France: $1.6 billion (0.4%)
- Turkey: $1.4 billion (0.3%)
- United Arab Emirates: $1.4 billion (0.3%)
Well over nine-tenths (94.7%) of Taiwanese exports in 2021 were delivered to the above 25 trade partners.
Taiwan’s most valuable exported products to mainland China are electronic integrated circuits and other electrical components. In contrast, Taiwan’s leading export to the United States of America are computers and computerized machinery units.
Belgium increased its purchases of products exported by Taiwan at the fastest pace from 2020 to 2021 via an 89.9% gain. Other leading increases belong to India (up 74.5%), Italy (up 59.3%), Spain (up 55.3%), Brazil (up 50.4%), Australia (up 48.3%) and Malaysia (up 40.8%).
Year over year, the lowest increase among Taiwan’s major trade partners belongs to the Philippines via a 7.3% gain.
Countries Causing Biggest Trade Deficits for Taiwan
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.
- Japan: -US$27 billion (country-specific trade deficit in 2021)
- South Korea: -$10.5 billion
- Australia: -$10 billion
- Saudi Arabia: -$7 billion
- Indonesia: -$4.8 billion
- Kuwait: -$4.4 billion
- Germany: -$4.34 billion
- Russia: -$3.69 billion
- United Arab Emirates: -$3.6 billion
- Qatar: -$2.6 billion
Among Taiwan’s trading partners that cause the greatest negative trade balances, Taiwanese deficits with United Arab Emirates (up 117.3%), Indonesia (up 116.1%) and Australia (up 106.8%) grew at the fastest pace from 2020 to 2021.
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.
Countries Generating Greatest Trade Surpluses for Taiwan
Taiwan generated an overall $65.1 billion trade surplus from all goods bought and sold on international markets during 2021. That amount of black ink reflects a 9.4% improvement from the $59.5 billion trade surplus for one year earlier.
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.
- Hong Kong: US$61.4 billion (country-specific trade surplus in 2020)
- mainland China: $43.5 billion
- United States: $26.2 billion
- Singapore: $13.7 billion
- Vietnam: $7.9 billion
- Philippines: $3.1 billion
- Mexico: $2.11 billion
- Belgium: $2.06 billion
- United Kingdom: $1.8 billion
- Malaysia: $1.5 billion
Among Taiwan’s trading partners that generate the greatest positive trade balances, Taiwanese surpluses with Belgium (up 197.9%), Vietnam (up 56.2%) and the United States of America (up 46.9%) grew at the fastest pace from 2020 to 2021.
In addition, Taiwan went from a -$436 million deficit in 2020 to garnering a $1.5 billion surplus for 2021.
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.
Major 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 Major Export Companies, Taiwan’s Top 10 Imports, Taiwan’s Top 10 Exports and China’s Top 10 Imports
Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook Country Profiles, Central Intelligence Agency. Accessed on May 19, 2022
Forbes Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on May 19, 2022
IMPORTERS.com The Online Market for G20 Importers, Taiwan Import Export Directory. Accessed on May 19, 2022
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on May 19, 2022
Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on May 19, 2022
Wikipedia, List of Companies of Taiwan. Accessed on May 19, 2022
Zepol’s company summary highlights by country. Accessed on May 19, 2022