Trade and Economy

Over the past 50 years, in what is often referred to as the Taiwan Economic Miracle, the island nation of some 23 million people has transformed itself from a recipient of U.S. aid to an aid donor and major foreign investor. Taiwan is currently a major source of direct foreign investment for China and Southeast Asian countries, such as Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines.

With a dynamic export-driven economy, Taiwan holds the world’s fourth largest foreign exchange reserves-U.S.$270 billion as of November 2007, a record high-after China, Japan and Russia. It also remains one of the world’s leading trading nations, with an export surplus that is expected to reach U.S.$23.77 billion for 2007, representing a growth of some 11% over 2006.

Agriculture constitutes only about 2% of Taiwan’s GDP and as traditional labor-intensive industries are steadily moving offshore, they are being replaced with more capital and technology-intensive industries. High-value, high-quality IT products made in Taiwan are sold all over the world.

The service industry accounts for the lion’s share of the country’s GD at over 70 per cent, employing some 5.8 million people, or 58% of Taiwan’s workforce.

After decades of sustained economic growth, near full employment and low inflation, in 2001, Taiwan suffered its first recession in over 50 years. The economy has been in recovery since 2002. The outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) slowed growth to 3.5% in 2003. The world economic upturn drove growth to 6.2% the next year.

Since then, Taiwan’s economy has been growing at a pace of over 4% each year.

Useful links:
The Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA)
The Bureau of International Trade, MOEA
The Taiwan Stock Exchange
The Taiwan External Trade Development Council