Container trucks line up to enter Keelung Port in Keelung City, Taiwan. The data shows that Taiwan’s trade is more dependent on China than on the US

Billy HK Kwok | Bloomberg | Getty Images

BEIJING — Data show that Taiwan is more dependent on China for trade than the United States, even as U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi supported Taiwan this week during a high-profile visit.

Taiwan came under military and economic pressure from Beijing this week after the self-governing democratic island allowed a visit by Pelosi, the highest-ranking US official to set foot on Taiwan in 25 years.

The visit came despite warnings from China, which considers Taiwan part of its territory and says the island should not have foreign relations. The US recognizes Beijing as the sole legitimate government of China, while maintaining unofficial relations with Taiwan.

However, Taiwan’s business and economic ties with mainland China and Hong Kong have grown so much that the region is by far the island’s largest trading partner.

Many large Taiwanese companies are in high-tech industries, such as the world’s largest chip maker, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., or TSMC. — there are factories in mainland China.

Mainland China and Hong Kong accounted for 42% of Taiwan’s exports last year, while the US accounted for 15%, according to official Taiwan data available through Wind Information.

In total, in 2021, Taiwan exported goods to Mainland China and Hong Kong worth $188.91 billion. According to Taiwan’s Ministry of Finance, more than half were electronic components, followed by optical equipment.

Taiwan’s exports to Southeast Asia were even larger than those to the US, with $70.25 billion to the region versus $65.7 billion to the US, the data showed.

As the source of imports from Taiwan, Mainland China and Hong Kong again ranked first with a share of 22%. The US had only a 10% share, behind Japan, Europe and Southeast Asia.

Growing trade with mainland China

In recent years, Taiwan has been buying more and more products from mainland China, and vice versa.

Over the past five years, Taiwan’s imports from mainland China have increased by about 87%, compared to a 44% increase in imports from the US.

Taiwan’s exports to mainland China have grown by 71% between 2016 and 2021. But exports to the US almost doubled, increasing by 97%.

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