Discusses key economic indicators and trade statistics, which countries are dominant in the market, the U.S. market share, the political situation if relevant, the top reasons why U.S. companies should consider exporting to this country, and other issues that affect trade, e.g., terrorism, currency devaluations, trade agreements.
Last Published: 11/8/2019

Overall

With a population of 23.6 million, Taiwan is a thriving democracy with a vibrant market economy. In 2018, Taiwan’s GDP grew by 2.63 percent. The unemployment rate was 3.71 percent and the labor participation rate was 58.99 percent.

As of January 2018, Taiwan was the world’s sixth-largest holder of foreign exchange reserves and gold, with holdings of $468.1 billion.

 

U.S.-Taiwan Trade

The United States and Taiwan have a long-standing and vibrant trade relationship. In 2018, the United States and Taiwan transacted an estimated $94.5 billion of trade in goods and services, composed of $40.3 billion in exports and $54.2 billion in imports, resulting in a goods and services trade deficit with Taiwan of $13.9 billion.

The United States is Taiwan's second largest trading partner, accounting for 11.8 percent of total trade and 12 percent of Taiwan imports. Mainland China is Taiwan’s largest trading partner, accounting for 23.9 percent of total trade and 18.6 percent of Taiwan’s imports in 2018. In terms of total trade, other Taiwan trading partners include Japan (10.9 percent), the European Union (9.3 percent), and Hong Kong (7.1 percent).

 

U.S. Goods Trade

In 2018, Taiwan was the United States’ 11th largest goods trading partner, outranking markets such as the Netherlands and Brazil, with $76 billion in two-way goods trade.

Taiwan was the United States' 15th largest goods export market at $30.2 billion in 2018, an increase of 17.5 percent over 2017, and accounting for 1.8 percent of U.S. goods exports. Top U.S. goods exports included electrical machinery ($4.8 billion), machinery ($4.7 billion), mineral fuels ($3.8 billion), aircraft ($2.6 billion), and optical and medical instruments ($2.1 billion).

Taiwan was the United States’ ninth-largest agricultural export market in 2018, with exports totaling $3.93 billion, an 18.5 percent increase over 2017 ($3.32 billion). Top U.S. agricultural exports included soybeans ($830 million), corn ($594 million), beef and beef products ($550 million), wheat ($267 million), and fresh fruit ($200 million).

In regard to imports, Taiwan was the United States’ 13th largest supplier of goods imports. The island is not a major supplier of agricultural imports to the United States.


U.S. Services Trade

In 2018, two-way trade in services with Taiwan was an estimated $18.5 billion. U.S. exports of services to Taiwan were an estimated $10 billion, a 1.7 percent increase over 2017. Top U.S. services exports included intellectual property (industrial processes), transport, and travel.

Around 480,000 Taiwan travelers visited the United States, in 2018, and spent over $2.2 billion on travel and tourism related goods and services.

In 2018, Taiwan was the seventh-largest source of foreign students pursuing higher education in the United States. The number of students increased to 22,454, a 4.4 percent increase over 2017, and generated an economic impact of $824 million.
U.S. imports of services from Taiwan were an estimated $8.4 billion in 2018, a 4.4 percent over 2017.

 

Investment

Taiwan's total stock of FDI in the United States was $14.1 billion in 2018, up 24.7 percent from 2016. This investment supported 14,100 U.S. jobs. Taiwan's foreign direct investment in the U.S. is led by electronic components, business machines, communications, software and IT services, semiconductors, and transportation.

In 2018, the total stock of U.S. foreign direct investment (FDI) in Taiwan was $17.53 billion, a 2.9 percent increase over 2017. United States’ direct investment in Taiwan is led by manufacturing, wholesale trade, and finance and insurance.

Prepared by our U.S. Embassies abroad. With its network of 108 offices across the United States and in more than 75 countries, the U.S. Commercial Service of the U.S. Department of Commerce utilizes its global presence and international marketing expertise to help U.S. companies sell their products and services worldwide. Locate the U.S. Commercial Service trade specialist in the U.S. nearest you by visiting http://export.gov/usoffices.



Taiwan Trade Development and Promotion