Taiwan must be prepared amid U.S.-China trade war: TAITRA

Washington, July 12 (CNA) Taiwan has spent the past few years diversifying export markets and promoting industrial transformation, which should help minimize the effects of the ongoing trade war between the United States and China, a Taiwanese trade official said Thursday.

"Even if the U.S.-China trade war further drags on, Taiwan must be prepared but not panic," said Liu Shih-chung (???), vice chairman of the Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA), at a seminar sponsored by the Stimson Center on the impact of the trade war.

"Before the trade war erupted, Taiwan had started to diversify its export markets, as evidenced by the launch of the 'New Southbound Policy' (in 2016)," he noted.

According to Liu, TAITRA contacted China-based Taiwan businessmen before the trade war kicked off and several predicted it would take three to six months to gauge its impact on Taiwanese businesses.

"Taiwan will unavoidably be affected if the U.S.-China trade war develops into a long drawn-out affair," Liu said.

"Taiwanese enterprises with shipments destined for the U.S. need to be prepared but not panic, as market diversification is the key for them to continue their business," he said, adding that many Taiwanese firms operating in China have already shifted some production lines to countries such as Vietnam and Indonesia, due to rising manufacturing costs and environmental protection awareness in China.

In a bid to force China to take measures to cut its huge trade deficit with the U.S., Washington announced late Tuesday that it was starting the process of imposing 10 percent tariffs on another U$$200 billion of Chinese exports as soon as September, expanding the trade war between the world's two largest economies.

On July 6, the U.S. first imposed a punitive 25 percent tariff on US$34 billion worth of Chinese machinery, electronics and high- tech equipment, including autos, computer hard drives and LEDs as it had earlier threatened to do.

China responded immediately with a 25 percent tariff on U.S. goods of the same value, targeting mainly agricultural products and vehicles.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel