Taipei, March 31 (CNA) With Taiwan being regarded as one of the sources of the huge U.S. trade deficit, a senior official at the Bureau of Foreign Trade (BOFT) said Friday that Taiwan and the U.S. are not competitors, because over 80 percent of Taiwan's exports to the U.S. are intermediate goods.
Those products include machine equipment, computer peripherals, automobile parts and components, screws and bolts, said David Hsu (???,) deputy director-general of the BOFT, in response to reporters' questions about U.S. President Donald Trump's actions to crack down on what he sees as trade abuses against his country.
The content of Taiwan's exports indicate that Taiwan and the U.S. maintain "mutually beneficial relations," because only with exports of finished products like computers can there be competitive relations, Hsu said.
Products such as computers account for only a small share of Taiwan's exports to the U.S., he noted.
According to foreign wire reports, Trump was to sign a pair of executive orders on Friday aimed at rooting out the causes and culprits behind the U.S.'s nearly US$50 billion trade deficit.
While China has been blamed as the biggest culprit, other countries also named as the source of the deficit include Taiwan, the BOTF said.
BOTF data shows that in 2016, Taiwan exported US$33.523 billion worth of products to the U.S., accounting for 11.96 percent of its entire exports that year.
That same year, Taiwan imported US$28.597 billion worth of products from the U.S., accounting for 12.4 percent of its entire imports.
The figures indicate that no matter whether in terms of exports or imports, the U.S. is Taiwan's third-largest market, the bureau said.
Hsu said that although Taiwan was specified by name when U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross revealed at a press briefing a day earlier a list of countries that he suggested could potentially be involved in trade abuses against his country, "it does not mean it (Taiwan) is the one they want to deal with."
Although Taiwan is on the list, Hsu said he prefers not to assume that there will be sanctions against Taiwan.
According to Ross, one of the executive orders Trump might issue include the completion of a large-scale report to identify "every form of trade abuse and every non-reciprocal practice that now contributes to the U.S. trade deficit."
Officials will have 90 days to produce a country-by-country, product-by-product report that will serve as the basis of future decision-making by the Trump administration on trade-related issues, Ross was cited as saying in foreign wire reports.
The secretary of commerce, however, also explained that the presence of a deficit does not necessarily mean that retaliatory or remedial action will be taken.
"In some cases, it will simply be that they are better at making the product or can do it far cheaper than we can," Ross said.
Apart from Taiwan, those also named as sources of the U.S. trade deficit include Japan, Germany, Mexico, Ireland, Vietnam, Italy, South Korea, Malaysia, India, Thailand, France, Switzerland, Indonesia and Canada.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel