TAIWAN - Taiwan registered a negative inflow of foreign direct investment (FDI) for the first time in more than 40 years in 2011, according a United Nations report released yesterday.
According to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) Handbook of Statistics 2012, merchandise exports from Taiwan last year totaled US$308.26 billion (S$376 billion), increasing by US$33.62 billion from the year before. The data covers international trade and investment performance.
According to the UNCTAD, Taiwan reached the lowest performance since 1970 in terms of global trade competition. In 2011, Taiwan's FDI inflow was minus US$1.96 billion, compared with US$2.49 billion in 2010. Statistics show that the record for Taiwan's FDI inflow was US$7.77 billion in 2007.
Several of the main trade rivals for Taiwan in the Pan-Asia region are Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, and Singapore. Statistics have shown that these economies ranked high in merchandise exports in 2011, according to the UNCTAD.
The data also show that in 2011, Japan recorded US$822.56 billion in exports, while South Korea reached its goal of US$556.62 billion, Hong Kong US$428.73 billion and Singapore US$409.53 billion.
Statistics suggest that China was the largest international exporter in 2011. It sold US$1.9 trillion in goods overseas, better than the U.S' performance that was US$1.48 trillion.
UNCTAD data indicate that exports from developing countries in the past 10 years have been increasing and have contributed to boosting the growth of global trade. The Asia region as a whole acted as a fast-growing economic cooperation zone, supporting growth in the industrial sector.
According to the UNCTAD, high-tech products such as computers, communication products and precision components led the region's exports drive. These products made up 65-70 per cent of the devices exported from producers in Asia.
UNCTAD statistics show that the Asian export providers accounted for 60.1 per cent of global exports, and that nations such as China, Singapore, Taiwan and South Korea have benefited greatly from recent export trends.
The Bureau of Foreign Trade, which cited statistics compiled by the World Trade Organisation in April, indicated that Taiwan's 2011 rankings declined in terms of both exports and imports.
The bureau noted that Taiwan was ranked the world's 17th largest merchandise exporter in 2011, just down from the 16th position recorded in 2010.