U.S.-China Trade Woes Are Drawing In Taiwan

Date: Feb 8, 2019
By: Russell FlanneryForbes Staff

The fall in U.S. stocks on Thursday underscored worries among investors that progress on resolving Sino-U.S. trade disputes won’t be sufficient to avoid the new round of tariffs on Chinese goods threatened by the Trump administration if talks fail. Larry Kudlow, chief economic advisor to President Trump, reportedly said yesterday the two sides are “miles” apart ahead of a March 1 deadline.

Taiwan, a close trading partner of both the U.S. and mainland, has a big stake in the outcome. Business confidence in a recent survey of members of the American Chamber of Commerce in Taipei fell by 10 percentage points from a year earlier, Amcham President William Foreman explained in an interview in Taipei on Thursday. Foreman also discussed the fallout of the U.S. Justice Department charges in November that Taiwan’s semiconductor maker United Microelectronics Corp. conspired with mainland China’s state-owned Fujian Jianhua Integrated Circuits to steal technology from American memory-chip maker Micron (see link here). Amcham represents more than 500 companies in Taiwan. Interview excerpts follow.

Q. What’s the impact of rising trade tension between the U.S. and the mainland on Taiwan?

A. First of all, it’s affecting confidence in Taiwan’s one-year business outlook. We saw a 10 percentage point drop compared to last year in how confident business leaders are one year out (see full survey here). The clear factors there were the uncertainties from the trade war and pressure from China, and just generally, U.S. trade policy.

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