Taiwan’s Role in China’s Trade With the Los Angeles Area

UCSD BuildingChina may be the top trading partner for the area’s huge ports, but Taiwanese companies play a big role in that trade, according to the Los Angeles Times. The Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation estimates that as much as a third of the imports coming into the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach from China are made by Taiwanese companies doing business in mainland China. That data comes from a report the corporation released in June.

The Los Angeles region handled more than a quarter of the trade between Taiwan and the U.S. last year, valued at $17 billion, up 7.8% from 2013. Taiwan is the region’s fourth largest trading partner, behind China, Japan and Korea. In 2014 imports from Taiwan, much of them computers and electronics, increased 9% in the Los Angeles area to $9.5 billion, the highest level since 2007.

From January through April, the U.S. Census Bureau estimates the U.S. and Taiwan did about $21.6 billion dollars in trade in goods (with the U.S. running a $6 billion trade deficit). For all of 2014 the estimated total trade in goods was about $67 billion (the U.S. running a $13.9 billion deficit).

The Los Angeles area’s exports to Taiwan rose 6.4% last year to $7.6 billion, a record high, including aerospace, transportation and agriculture products. Taiwan and American (especially Californian) economic ties are “very close,” Taiwan President Ma Ying Jeou told The Times last month.

The Taiwanese government hopes the country will join the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a proposed major regional trade alliance of twelve countries including the U.S., Japan and South Korea. If that happens, Taiwan would have better access to foreign markets and help it diversify its economy and be less dependent on mainland China. Talks on the TPP are in the final stages and may be concluded this summer, but not without controversy in the Congress. It could be several years before other countries, including Taiwan, are added.

We help companies importing and exporting throughout Asia, including Taiwan, with the legal issues they face. If you have legal questions about doing business in Taiwan or with a Taiwanese company, contact our office so we can discuss your plans and how we can help.