Taipei: Despite the COVID 19 coronavirus crisis, nearly 60 percent of Taiwan based U.S. companies are optimistic about the country's economic outlook, according to a recent survey conducted by the American Chamber of Commerce in Taipei (AmCham Taipei).
The organization's 2020 Business Climate Survey, released Wednesday, found that about 59.9 percent of the respondents expressed confidence about Taiwan's economic growth over the coming 12 months, up from 45.81 percent a year ago.
The potential factors considered by the respondents for their optimism included substantial investment returning to Taiwan from China, a booming semiconductor industry, stronger relations between Taiwan and the United States, and the well run Taiwan 2020 presidential election, according to a report on the survey results.
"Last year at this time, uncertainty generated by the U.S. China trade dispute was dampening business confidence," the report said. "But in this year's survey, only 10.75 percent of the respondents said the trade dispute has had a large impact on their business."
"Nearly half of the respondents said that the overall impact on Taiwan so far has been mainly positive, due to the return of manufacturing operations from China."
Asked at a press conference Wednesday why the optimism level of U.S. businessmen in Taiwan was higher than last year considering the threats of the coronavirus, C.W. Chin (???), AmCham Taipei chairman, said that the timing of the poll could be a factor.
The survey was conducted at the start of the outbreak and the government has been doing well in controlling the spread of the virus, he said, adding that the handling of the situation had boosted the chamber members' confidence.
While commending the government for its controlling of the outbreak, Chin said the impact of the coronavirus crisis to Taiwan's gross domestic product (GDP) remains to be seen.
About 73 percent of the respondents who completed the survey before the seriousness of the outbreak was recognized expressed confidence about the 12 month outlook, but the rate dropped to 53 percent for those who took the survey after the epidemic became evident, according to the report.
The survey also found out that more than 30 percent of AmCham Taipei member companies expect to increase employment in 2020 and fewer respondents expressed dissatisfaction with the level of attention that business receives from top policymakers in Taiwan.
On the other hand, the respondents identified cross Taiwan Strait relations, energy policy, labor regulations on working hours and conclusion of a bilateral trade agreement with the U.S. as top priorities in President Tsai Ing wen's (???) second term.
Most AmCham Taipei members see that better cross strait relations would be beneficial to the business environment, so this could be an initiative for Tsai to work on, Chin said.
The survey was conducted Jan. 14 Feb. 17, receiving 197 effective responses.
AmCham Taipei will come up with its White Paper in June, stating its members' concerns and recommendations to the Taiwan government on economic issues
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel