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Taiwan reports jump in first-half exports to Singapore

SINGAPORE -- Taiwan's exports to Singapore grew by 18 percent in the first half of the year, beating its trade rivals Japan, South Korea and China, according to a report by the Taiwan Trade Center in Singapore.

Although Taiwan's global exports fell by 5.8 percent in the first six months of the year from the same period in 2010, its exports to both Singapore and Mexico surged significantly, the report indicated.

The biggest growth in exports was to Mexico, 19.1 percent, followed by 18 percent to Singapore, the report indicated.

During the same period, Japan saw a 7.8-percent decline in exports to Singapore year-on year, while South Korea's exports to Singapore grew 9.7 percent and China's export growth rate to the city state was just 4.6 percent, according to the report.

The jump in exports to Singapore can be attributed to the fact that Taiwanese businesses in China have been opening new production lines in Southeast Asian countries due to frustration with the increasingly unfavorable manufacturing environment in China, said Clement Chen, head of the Taiwan Trade Center in Singapore, which is under the jurisdiction of the Taiwan External Trade Development Council.

The establishment of factories in Southeast Asia led to higher exports of parts and components from Taiwan to that region, Chen said.

The growth in exports to Singapore was mostly in the area of electronic products such as integrated circuit boards, LEDs and printed circuit boards, he said, citing data from his office.

In addition, the export of boats, chemical products and machinery also increased significantly, surging by about 750 percent to 1,340 percent in the January to June period year-on-year, Chen said.

He said the Singapore government has been making strong efforts in recent years to promote green architecture and encourage greater production efficiency among domestic enterprises, which has created many trade opportunities.

Taiwanese businesses can sell products like LED devices, solar energy units and automatic machinery to Singapore, Chen said.

Furthermore, Singapore's plan to begin building its sixth metro line next year will offer a good opportunity for Taiwanese companies to bid for some of the related construction projects, he said.

Bilateral trade between Taiwan and Singapore was US$24.83 billion in 2011, with Taiwan recording a trade surplus of US$8.93 billion, according to Taiwan's official statistics.

The two countries are currently engaged in talks on a proposed economic partnership agreement.

Taiwan's representative to Singapore Hsieh Fa-dah said the two countries are logistics and transportation hubs in their respective regions. If they can forge a partnership, they will be able to create a solid supply network that will improve efficiency, he said.

In addition, cooperation between Taiwan and Singapore could give their products a competitive edge in the international market, he added.

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