With the USA and China locked in a trade war, China’s near neighbour Taiwan – with its strong scientific and technology base, political security and economic reliability – may stand to benefit from the situation, attracting more investment from the US and more closely collaborating with US firms and research institutions.


US-Taiwan relationships are the best they have been in decades

William Foreman, AmCham Taipei

As the trade war between the United States and China rumbles on, both sides are hardening their stances on trade tariffs. The tensions extend into the life sciences sector with restrictions being placed on genomic data and resources, and trade sanctions imposed by the US have opened the door for India to bring its pharma products into China. The rapid escalation of tariffs, mixed with the glimmer of optimism that the two nations will reach a compromise, is wreaking havoc on global markets. According to CNN Business, stocks rallied upon news of a further round of trade talks, increasing investor optimism after weeks of anxiety.


Other Asian nations may stand to benefit from these tensions. When asked how the trade relationship between the US and Taiwan is expected to evolve, AmCham Taipei president William Foreman notes that “In many ways, this is a huge opportunity for Taiwan as it can help strengthen its relationship with the US. Right now, US-Taiwan relationships are the best they have been in decades. Taiwan really needs to continue to think of ways to seize opportunities and always be prepared to capitalize on any unexpected policy changes that could play to its benefit.”


Tech giants are also eyeing Taiwan as an attractive regional hub for research and production thanks to the island’s highly-skilled workforce that is able to quickly produce large volumes of high-performance devices. So far, Google, Microsoft and IBM have set up AI-focused research and development centres in Taiwan. Amazon Web Services (AWS) has set up an innovation centre in New Taipei City due to its “trade-friendly growth environment for investors,” according to its mayor Yu Ih Hou. Mayor Yu recently told PharmaBoardroom that “in the context of the US-China trade war, we believe there is an opportunity for Taiwan and New Taipei City to play a strategic role. Important players like Google and Amazon are establishing regional centres in Taiwan rather than China.  These digital players can also connect to the biomedical industry through cross-disciplinary collaboration.”  


Jong-Chin Shen, Taiwan’s minister of economic affairs believes the island holds potential for investors looking to gain a foothold in the Asia-Pacific region which do not want to subject themselves to the fluctuations and uncertainty inherent in operating in mainland China. Shen suggests that “in the face of complex communication network security challenges, the Sino-US trade war, and ongoing conflicts in the area of science and technology, Taiwan can offer foreign investors advantages in terms of security and reliability.”