TAIWAN'S indirect export trade with China lost momentum late last year as trade from the island to the mainland in November rose only 4.1 per cent year-on-year, the Board of Trade says. Indirect exports from Taiwan to the mainland rose 22 per cent to US$16.3 billion in the first 11 months of last year, compared with the 15 per cent growth recorded in the same period of 1994, according to an estimate released by the board yesterday. Indirect imports surged 74 per cent to $2.9 billion in the period, slightly slower than the 82 per cent recorded for the first 11 months of 1994. Taiwan's resulting surplus of $13.4 billion was 14.5 per cent higher than that recorded for the first 11 months of 1994. Principal categories of goods exported to the mainland in January-November last year included synthetic and industrial textiles (16 per cent), electrical machinery and components (14 per cent), machine tools (14 per cent) and plastic products (12 per cent). Major imports included ferrous metals (25 per cent) and electrical machinery and components (15 per cent). The slow growth in indirect trade - a 4.1 per cent rise in exports to $1.6 billion and a 4.6 per cent rise in imports to $243 million - reflected Taiwan's overall sluggish trade expansion in November. Bert Lim, chairman of Taipei-based think-tank the World Economics Society, said merchandise exports grew a modest 5.4 per cent last November compared with the same month in 1994, partly because of 'the vacation effect' of a large number of holidays in October and very strong trade expansion in November 1994. Mr Lim said that softening domestic demand in the second half of last year, problems experienced by Taiwanese companies seeking working capital on the mainland, and uncertainty over rising cross-strait political tension, may have slowed the flow of indirect trade.