industrial raw materials, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, GATT, major exports, World Trade Organization
In 2000 Taiwan’s exports totaled U.S.$148.4 billion; imports cost U.S.$140 billion. Exports consistently exceed imports, giving Taiwan one of the world’s largest trade surpluses. The major exports are machinery, electrical and electronic products, and textiles. Taiwan’s largest export trading partner is the United States, followed by Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, Germany, Malaysia, and South Korea. More than 70 percent of imports are agricultural and industrial raw materials used by Taiwan’s manufacturing industry to create finished products. Japan supplies the majority of imports, followed closely by the United States. Taiwan’s trade with the Chinese mainland grew from about $78 million in 1979 to more than $9 billion in 1994, although Taiwan’s Ministry of Economic Affairs restricts trade with the mainland for the purpose of national security.
In 1990 Taiwan applied for admission to the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), which was replaced by the World Trade Organization (WTO) in late 1995. In November 2001 the member nations of the WTO approved the accession of Taiwan, and it formally became a member in January 2002. Although Taiwan is a member of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), a trade organization of the Pacific Rim, Taiwan’s president was denied participation in APEC’s highest ranking meetings due to opposition from mainland China, which is also a member.
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