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Taiwan’s Top Commodity Imports & Exports

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In this economic guide to Taiwan (also called Chinese Taipei) we’ll give you an overview of the Taiwanese economy, including the country’s primary imports and exports of goods and services, as well as their primary destinations.

Economy of Taiwan – Overview

Taiwan has an economy that’s largely driven by its reliance on a strong export economy and it’s particularly reliant on the exports of electronics, machinery and petrochemicals.

Taiwan (Chinese Taipei) map
Map of Taiwan (Chinese Taipei) via Wikimedia (public domain)

Analysts tend to view this as a fairly unique situation with a specific set of challenges to contend with, such as a heavy dependence on exports, diplomatic isolation, and increasing competition from China at a time when the country has a low birth rate and a rapidly aging population.

Taiwan’s Top 5 Commodity Exports

  1. Refined Petroleum – $9.7 billion
  2. Hot-Rolled Iron – $2.6 billion
  3. Large Flat-Rolled Stainless Steel – $2.0 billion
  4. Coated Flat-Rolled Iron – $2.0 billion
  5. Other Iron Products – $1.3 billion

Taiwan’s Other Notable Exports

  • Integrated Circuits – $109.6 billion
  • Office Machine Parts – $10.5 billion
  • LCDs – $7.6 billion
  • Blank Audio Media – $6.7 billion
  • Semiconductor Devices – $6.7 billion

Top export destinations for Chinese Taipei are China ($97.4 billion), Hong Kong ($42 billion), United States ($41.6 billion), Japan ($23.9 billion), and Singapore ($22 billion).

Over 72% of all Chinese Taipei’s exports are delivered to other Asian countries and trade partners.

Taiwan’s Top 5 Commodity Imports

  1. Crude Petroleum – $20.5 billion
  2. Refined Petroleum – $12.4 billion
  3. Petroleum Gas – $7.9 billion
  4. Coal Briquettes – $6.9 billion
  5. Refined Copper – $3.3 billion

Taiwan’s Other Notable Imports

  • Integrated Circuits – $40.6 billion
  • Photo Lab Equipment – $6.7 billion
  • Machinery Having Individual Functions – $6.3 billion
  • Cars – $5.3 billion
  • Office Machine Parts – $3.9 billion

The top 5 countries that provide Chinese Taipei imports are China ($49.5 billion), Japan ($41.1 billion), the United States ($31.2 billion), South Korea ($20.6 billion), and Singapore ($10.5 billion)

Details About Taiwan’s Imports/Exports

Here we provide more analysis of Taiwan’s trading products.

Refined Petroleum

Refined petroleum is the third most traded product in the world and the annual export market is worth $753 billion with Chinese Taipei taking a 1.3% share.

Refined petroleum oil is the third largest export of Taiwan and represents 2.7% of their total exports, behind integrated circuits (30.7%) and office machine parts (9.3%).

Three of the top 5 products imported by Taiwan are crude petroleum (7.8%), refined petroleum (4.7%) and petroleum gas (3%).

Flat-Rolled Stainless Steel

The annual export market for large flat-rolled stainless steel is worth $33.1 billion and Taiwan enjoys a 6% share of this trade.

China, Luxembourg, Finland, South Korea, and Indonesia are the only other countries to export more flat-rolled stainless steel each year than Chinese Taipei.

Hot-Rolled Iron

Hot-rolled iron global annual exports are worth $54.9 billion and Chinese Taipei has a 4.8% market share.

Taiwan is the 7th largest exporter of hot-rolled iron. Japan ($8.35 billion) is the largest exporter, followed by South Korea ($5.3 billion), Russia ($3.49 billion), Belgium-Luxembourg ($3.06 billion), and Germany ($2.78 billion).

Copper Foil

The global annual export market for copper foil is worth $6.79 billion and the Asian region is a dominant force with 84.8% of all exports of this product coming from the region.

Copper foil is integral to the production of printed circuit boards (PCB). Due to Chinese incentives for electric car production, which rely on copper foil to make the electric vehicle batteries, there could be a potential copper foil shortage looming.

A production shortfall of copper foil will affect the PCB industry as well.

Interesting Facts About Taiwan

  • Chinese Taipei has a higher percentage of women working than the United States and they represent 50.4% of the workforce.
  • Taiwan has a fertility rate of just over one child per woman, which ranks as one of the lowest in the world.
  • Taiwan is the largest economy and the most populous state that is not currently a member of the United Nations.

All figures based on OEC/IMF 2018 calculations and projections unless otherwise stated.

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