We Expect 15% Increase in Exports of Fasteners for the year 2018
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We Expect 15% Increase in Exports of Fasteners for the year 2018

During our visit in Taiwan for the Taiwan Fastener Show, we had the opportunity to talk with Mr. Walter Yeh, the president of the Taiwan Foreign Trade Development Council, about the Taiwan Fastener Industry, international trade relations and TAITRA’s activities in this area. We are happy to share this information with you.

Can you tell us about the Taiwan Fastener Sector?

W.Yeh – Taiwan’s total exports are rising rapidly and we expect exports in the fastener sector to rise as well. Taiwan’s total exports share of the Fasteners is 4.3 billion US Dollar. According to last year’s data, an increase of 30% in exports of fasteners has been determined.
The increase in the first three months of our total exports has been reported as 11% and for fasteners it is expected to be 15% for the year 2018. The proportion of the fasteners produced for the automotive industry has reached 35% in total fastener production.
What incentives and practices implemented by the Government of Taiwan to support and improve production and exports in fastener industry?
W.Yeh – Our government has a department established to develop support and incentives. The institution develops projects to drive the producers’ products to a higher level. And after production, TAITRA and the Foreign Trade Bureau support activities to help to find markets and export products. TAITRA has offices in 61 overseas countries and supports the promotion of this industry all over the world.
Do you think that the customs tax regulations that the US wants to apply to China will also affect Taiwan?
W.Yeh – According to our statistics, we do not think we will be much affected. We know how to respond  and how to take precautions. Our export value has increased to 4.3 billion dollars from 3.8 billion dollars. Exports of Taiwan’s fasteners are concentrated on higher quality and value products. Our fastener exports average value per kg is 2.7 USD  while China’s average is 1.7 USD. 
What is the position of the fastener Industry in Taiwan’s total trade?
W.Yeh – Fasteners are an important sector for us. Taiwan’s total export value is about 318 billion USD, of which 4.3 billion USD is covered by the fastener industry, which corresponds to 2%. In this sector, over 1,350 producers in Taiwan are creating a wide variety of job opportunities and contributing to the economy. 
Where do you see the fastener industry in the next 5 years?
W.Yeh – The Taiwanese industry is rapidly evolving and government policy is promoting ‘Smart Manufacturing’ such as the 4.0 industry. At present 80-90% of the current production is done with machines, but the process of transition to smart production continues and we are making progress. This will be the trend for the coming years.
How TAITRA supports fastener industry?
W.Yeh – TAITRA organizes events for the fastener industry as it is in this trade show. Through our overseas offices, we facilitate connecting with foreign importers and promoting manufacturer’s products. We help them to find customers from all over the world through travels and meetings we organize. For example, we have organizations in Italy and Spain to promote the manufacturers that supply the automotive industry. We participated in the trade show in India and  introduced our producers by visiting the city where the automotive industry is dense. Likewise, we plan to organize visits to automotive manufacturers in Japan. To meet foreign customers, we organize one-on-one meetings as we attend many important fairs in Japan, Germany, and America. Not all small and medium-sized companies can reach everywhere by their own means. We provide the support that they need in international marketing. As TAITRA, we are trying to support them by establishing connections with local partners, exporter associations, distributor associations, trade chambers. 
Do you think the trade show is contributing to the growth of the Fastener Industry?
W.Yeh – Considering the exports are extremely important for this industry, this show is especially important for the international market. Attracting some 2.200 foreign and 10.000 local visitors also offers many  opportunities for industry firms. 93% of the total production is exported and only 7% of the total is assessed in the local market. Trade meetings hosted 61 heavy-weight buyers this year.
What plans do you have for the future?
W.Yeh – We want to provide digital services where all information is easy to access. For example, if you want to find out about all the companies operating in the fastener industry of any country, TAITRA will provide this information digitally. Maybe in the future, you will also be able to visit a Taiwan Fastener Show online. Of course, face-to-face meetings are important and reaching all the information before visiting the show will save you time.
We see that China is now more focused on quality and does China’s competitiveness worry you?
W.Yeh – We were aware of these challenges before. We are aware of our limits and choose niche markets and always improve ourselves. We prefer to work hard for niche markets instead of for the ones that are huge and stronger for us. One of the reasons for the Taiwanese industry to survive and grow is to produce unique products. Because our most important export products consist of auto parts, functional textile and petrochemical products we have potential and strength to survive. Taiwan can survive in different industries but we have to find our niche. We take the model of the small but advanced technology producing countries like Switzerland or the Netherlands. Certainly, there will be challenges and competition, but all these are the factors that will trigger us to advance faster.
What are your thoughts on Turkey’s fasteners market and trade relations with Turkey?
W.Yeh – Turkey is a very important market from a different angle. In machinery, tools, and fasteners, Turkey is ranked 3rd in the world after China and the US. Particularly strong in the automotive industry Turkey is an important partner for us. TAITRA has an office in Istanbul and we are always in close contact with our Turkish partners. We invite many visitors from Turkey and are holding one-on-one meetings.
Which are the other important markets for Taiwan?
W.Yeh - Germany is our most important trading partner in Europe for many sectors including fasteners. Likewise, the Mexican market is also important for us. Mexico and through Mexico US are  major investment destinations for Taiwan. According to statistics, annual export value to Mexico is  83 bln USD. The statistics of year 2016 indicates  top 10 buyer countries as; China, Japan, USA, India, Germany in top 5,  continuing with Malaysia, Vietnam, Italy, S.Korea and UK.
We thank TAITRA president  Mr.Walter Yeh and his crew for the hospitality and the nice interview.