Taiwanese businesses could be harmed by U.S. tariffs on China

Taipei, Two types of Taiwanese businesses could be impacted by trade penalties that the United States is expected to impose on China for violations of intellectual property rights and technology transfers, Minister of Economic Affairs Shen Jong-chin (???) said Thursday.

Shen was responding to a statement made a day earlier by U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer that six months after U.S. President Donald Trump initiated a Section 301 investigation into China, he is poised to announce tariffs and other actions the U.S. will take to target China's market aggression.

While Lighthizer gave no indication of the size or scope of the tariffs, Shen told reporters that two types of Taiwanese businesses with ties to China could be adversely affected.

These are Taiwanese businesses whose products are made in China then sold to the U.S. and those that are part of the supply chain of businesses providing components that are then shipped to China to be assembled, he said.

Shen said his ministry will determine which industries will most likely be affected and how much they will be affected in monetary terms.

Meanwhile, he recommended that businesses undergo transformation in order to gain more industrial autonomy and competitiveness, which he said will reduce the impact of any changes.

On the issue of tariffs, Taiwan is currently in talks with the U.S. to come up with an alternative that will waive recently announced tariffs on steel and aluminum exports to the U.S.

John Deng (???), Taiwan's top trade negotiator, is currently heading a delegation visiting the U.S. to negotiate on how Taiwan can avoid the 25 percent tariff on imported steel and 10 percent tariff on aluminum.

Deng said that the talks have not yet concluded, but added that a waiver will be difficult to obtain.

Even after the tariffs go into effect March 23, the members of his delegation will continue to work with their counterparts in the U.S. on the issue, Deng said.

He added that the purpose of the visit is to let the U.S. understand the fairness with which Taiwan conducts its steel and aluminum trade.

According to Ministry of Economic Affairs data, Taiwan's steel product exports to the U.S. totaled US$1.3 billion in 2017, accounting for 13.16 percent of Taiwan's total steel exports, while its aluminum product exports to the U.S. totaled US$44 million, or 6.15 percent of its total aluminum exports.

In 2017, the U.S. was the largest buyer of Taiwanese steel products, and the sixth-largest buyer of Taiwanese aluminum products.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel