AmCham Taipei: businesses less confident in Taiwan’s economy for 2019

Companies do remain positive about the country's three-year outlook, however

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AmCham Taipei chairman Leo Seewald

AmCham Taipei chairman Leo Seewald (Taiwan News photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Results from the American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) in Taipei’s 2019 Business Climate Survey reveal companies are less confident in Taiwan’s economic outlook over the next 12 months compared to last year.

The survey polled senior representatives from some of the 500 largest corporations currently operating in Taiwan. The results were presented in a press conference at the commerce chamber building Wednesday morning.

Businesses revealed that while they remained just as positive as last year about Taiwan’s three-year economic outlook, with 53.6 percent expressing some degree of confidence, only 45.8 percent were confident about Taiwan’s economic prospects for 2019—a 10 percentage point drop from 2018.

According to AmCham chairman Leo Seewald, corporations highlighted the U.S.-China trade dispute, the U.S.’s “America First” policy, and pressure on Taiwan from China as the three largest causes for concern in the upcoming year.

Cybersecurity threats and the potential of intellectual property rights infringement also configured into the slightly more negative way enterprises viewed Taiwan’s business climate in 2019.

“When the status quo changes, companies struggle,” Seewald said, “But business strains related to economic issues can be dealt with more easily. Political issues are more difficult to judge.”

The relatively unchanged perception business have on Taiwan’s three-year outlook show they are confident about a trade conflict resolution in the long-term, Seewald commented. They also remain confident in their own potential for growth over the next 12 months.

Companies view product or service innovation as their main business growth opportunity in 2019, in a large part due to the Executive Yuan’s new “Five plus two” policy adjustments, which 64 percent of survey respondents said will benefit Taiwan’s economic development.

However, businesses indicated they are relatively dissatisfied with the current level of attention given to their needs by Taiwan’s top policy makers, suggesting further reforms are needed to increase the competitiveness of Taiwan’s economy.

Despite this, Taiwan is still viewed as an excellent place to live and work. Respondents remained enthusiastic about the country’s living conditions, and gave personal safety, social stability, an excellent healthcare system, and great transport infrastructure as the chief attributes pertaining to quality of life in the country.

The 2019 Business Climate Survey was conducted by the American Chamber of Commerce in Taipei in partnership with PwC Taiwan between Nov. 12 and Dec. 21 2018.