Indirect Shanghai-Taiwan trade surges by nearly half

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 22 January, 2003, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 22 January, 2003, 12:00am

As Shanghai prepares for the arrival of Taiwanese carriers this weekend to initiate 'direct' cross-strait air links, trade between the city and Taiwan has never been stronger.

According to official statistics, indirect trade between Shanghai and Taiwan surged by nearly half last year to US$8.4 billion (HK$65.5 billion), boosted by Taiwanese investment in the city and its hinterland of the Yangtze River delta. Taiwan-registered cargo handled by Customs authorities in Shanghai rose 47 per cent to US$6.5 billion last year, the official Wen Hui Daily reported.

Goods leaving Shanghai bound for Taiwan jumped 43 per cent to US$1.9 billion, the newspaper said.

The area around Shanghai has proved a magnet for Taiwanese manufacturers, especially in electronics, over the past few years. Officials estimate Shanghai alone is home to 4,600 registered Taiwanese companies and there are about 300,000 Taiwanese, businessmen and their family members, living in the area.

Machinery and electronic products made up much of the trade figures. Shanghai shipped US$1.16 billion in such goods to Taiwan last year, a 54 per cent rise. Sales of textiles and industrial raw materials to Taiwan also rose sharply.

Imports from Taiwan routed through Shanghai included steel, materials for making plastics and synthetic fibres. Taiwan firms are estimated to have poured more than US$100 billion into the mainland since it opened to foreign investment in the 1980s.

Since the mid-1990s, much of this investment has started to move away from Guangdong and Fujian provinces and head north. Shanghai, Kunshan, Suzhou and Wuxi have attracted the lion's share.

It will be much easier for Taiwanese executives at those companies to get home for this year's Lunar New Year festivities as the mainland is permitting Taiwanese airlines to run charter flights that will stop over briefly in Macau and Hong Kong.