As an insular, export-oriented economy, Taiwan views foreign trade as the backbone of its economic growth. In 2017, the value of Taiwan's exports totaled US$317.25 billion, which was the second- highest total ever, as well as the largest rate of increase, at 13.2%, in the past seven years. Such growth resulted mainly from the continuing recovery of the global economy, the strong demand for electronic products and machinery in overseas markets, and the stabilization of crude oil and raw material prices. Looking to this year (2018), the global economy and trade are expected to continue expanding steadily, while Taiwan's trade pattern should continue to be stable. Therefore, in order to enhance our international and regional links, diversify our foreign trade patterns, and reinforce the momentum of our export growth, the BOFT will continue its trade promotion work and actively help our industries explore overseas markets in the following ways:
1. Promoting external economic and trade cooperation through multilateral fora:
Taiwan has been an active player in various global economic organizations such as the World Trade Organization (WTO), Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), etc. We have been strengthening alliances with major countries, including the United States and Japan, by working together to promote international norms and initiatives that are beneficial to our respective industries. Together with the Office of Trade Negotiations under the Executive Yuan (OTN), we have endeavored to eliminate external trade barriers by utilizing the dispute settlement mechanism of the WTO.
2. Promoting participation in regional economic integration:
Taiwan has been actively carrying out preparatory work to join regional trade agreements such as the CPTPP and RCEP. For example, we are accelerating completion of our overall impact assessment, promoting domestic institutional adjustments and conducting consultations with stakeholders. As for international support, we are engaging with our trading partners that are members of the CPTPP and RCEP through bilateral exchanges and throughother international fora such as APEC and the WTO.
3. Enhancing bilateral economic and trade relations with various countries:
Through the platform of bilateral economic and trade dialogues, we are teaming up with industries to eliminate trade barriers and seeking new trade opportunities. For example, we intend to strengthen linkages in bilateral industry chains between Taiwan and the U.S., and Taiwan and the EU, as well as with New Southbound countries (ASEAN member states, 6 countries in South Asia, Australia, and New Zealand).
4. Expanding global and New Southbound country markets by strengthening export momentum:
In general, foreign buyers are invited to attend large-scale Taiwanese procurement meetings, offices have been established in major cities around the world in order to gather business information and relay it to exporting companies, overseas marketing for Taiwan's smart machinery is being reinforced, the MICE industry has been enhanced, and so forth. With regard to the New Southbound countries, we intend to expand "Taiwan Expos," promote e-commerce, cooperate with third country manufacturers in the New Southbound markets, and develop assistance ODA models with the New Southbound countries.