Local share of Vietnam imports shrinks
Taiwan’s share of products imported by Vietnam has been shrinking as a result of slow progress in Taipei’s bid to sign a free trade agreement (FTA) with the Southeast Asian country, economics officials in Taiwan said yesterday.
Mainland China and Hong Kong together accounted for 30.3 percent of all products Vietnam imported in 2014, the highest share among all exporters to the Southeast Asian country, according to Taiwan’s Ministry of Economics Affairs (MOEA).
In second place was South Korea with 14.7 percent, followed by Japan’s 8.7 percent and Taiwan’s 7.4 percent.
Compared to 2010, the rankings did not change, but China and Hong Kong’s share grew 5.4 percentage points, South Korea went up 3.1 percentage points while Japan and Taiwan saw decreases of 2.1 and 0.8 percentage points respectively, the MOEA said.
MOEA officials attributed the decreased Taiwan share to the slow progress in FTA talks between the two sides, compared to South Korea’s faster pace in doing so with Vietnam.
The officials said a slow-down in Taiwan’s investments in Vietnam has also affected the exports.
According to Vietnam government figures as cited by the MOEA, Taiwan was the top foreign investor in Vietnam between 1988 and 2006, with investments accumulating to US$8.26 billion for the period.
But starting 2007, South Korea has overtaken Taiwan to become the top foreign investor in Vietnam.
As of 2014, South Korea, Japan and Singapore were the top-three foreign investors in Vietnam, and Taiwan was only in fourth place.
But MOEA officials said the Vietnamese figures did not take into account investments from a third place. Taiwan would still be the top foreign investors in Vietnam if the investments it made through a third country were taken into consideration, the officials said.
In fact, Taiwan’s exports to Vietnam have been growing despite decreased share, the officials said.
Driven by its long-term investments in the country, Taiwan’s exports to Vietnam grew to US$11.08 billion in 2014 from US$6.25 billion in 2009.
During the same period, Taiwan’s imports from Vietnam increased to US$2.31 billion from US$1.12 billion.
Despite the riots in Vietnam last year, Taiwan’s exports to Vietnam and imports from the country grew 17.6 percent and 4.5 percent respectively in 2014 on an annual basis, the officials said.
Taiwan’s exports to Vietnam last year were mostly machinery and raw materials, with machinery equipment amounting to US$1.42 billion or 12.8 percent. Other major exports to Vietnam were computers, other electronic devices and components, textile products and petroleum.
Imports from Vietnam were mostly consumer, agricultural and fishery products, the MOEA officials said.