With Donald Trump's victory in the presidential election in the United States, several Taiwanese economists have predicted that Taiwan's economy will be battered by the fact that a protectionism advocate will lead the most powerful economy in the world.
Taiwan Institute of Economic Research President Jeff Lin (???) said he expects that the global economy will undergo a reshuffle because Trump upholds protectionism, suggesting that Taiwan might have to rethink its general trade policy.
"Enterprises like Hon Hai Precision Industry (??) may have to relocate their production lines to the U.S.," Lin said.
He also forecast that under Trump's protectionism flag, the U.S. will see a shrinkage of its international influence and China's influence will expand.
With the coming power change, Taiwan should consider shifting its focus to the China-led Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) and on the signing of bilateral free trade agreements (FTAs) with other countries, including the United States, Lin suggested.
Also, while trying to boost its trade and economic links with countries in Southeast Asia, Taiwan should attach weight to the Chinese market, he added.
Echoing Lin, former Finance Minister Chang Sheng-ford (???) said that Trump's victory is not good news for export-reliant Taiwan.
The United States is the second-largest market for Taiwanese exports, following China, Chang said, and there are many cooperation projects between Taiwanese and American enterprises, including Taiwan's serving as a major supplier of Apple, Inc.
"If Trump goes with his protectionist leanings, one cannot rule out the possibility that he will demand all Apple suppliers to set up factories in the U.S.," he said.
Meanwhile, Chinese National Federation of Industries Chairman Rock Hsu (???) suggested that the government should speed up the pace of seeking to sign FTAs with other countries.
Failing to do so will cause Taiwan's exports to be impacted by the U.S. trade protectionism," said Hsu, explaining that based on Trump's message released during his election campaign, he will raise trade tariffs on imports, including those from China, if elected.
Regarding that, "we (Taiwan) have to accelerate promoting the signing of FTAs so that we can face any changes," the business tycoon said.
On Wednesday afternoon (Taipei time), Trump was declared the winner of the U.S. presidential election as Hillary Clinton's firewall in U.S. Rust Belt states collapsed in a series of close races, especially in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.
As of 5:30 p.m., Trump had garnered 279 electoral votes to Clinton's 218 votes, according to results compiled by the New York Times. A total of 270 electoral votes were needed to win.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel