Most US Chambers of Commerce member companies in Taiwan say there have been no significant disruptions to business in recent weeks despite the escalation of tensions between China and Taiwan, according to a survey.
China has begun conducting military exercises around Taiwan in recent weeks, but 77% of respondents said they had not experienced “unpleasant disruption” to their business, said Andrew Wailegala, president of AmCham Taiwan.
After US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan, China began military exercises.
Taiwan is a self-governing democracy, but Beijing considers the island part of its territory and a breakaway state.
Still, while there is no “shock” or “migration” in Taiwan, nearly half of its members predict “some kind of displacement and disruption” as China continues military exercises, Willegala said.
“There is no panic in the short term, but there is an appropriate level of concern going forward,” Wielegal said on CNBC’s “Capital Connection” on Friday.
Amcham Taiwan conducted a survey of 529 member organizations from August 8 to 17, a few days after Pelosi’s visit to Taipei.
According to the survey, 17% of respondents have already experienced disruptions to their business, with a third citing shipping or insurance costs and supply chain delays.
AmCham Taiwan found that 46% of companies surveyed expect increased Chinese military activity from 2022 to 2023, which will affect their operations. The remaining respondents do not think they will be affected, or are not sure if they will be affected.
According to the trade association, when respondents were asked about a specific “spectrum of threats” they were concerned about, they raised the following: concerns about disinformation and psychological campaigns targeting Taiwan; Restrictions or obstacles on the coast of the island; and “sanctions, travel bans, boycotts and embargoes on Taiwanese products and people.”
US-Taiwan trade talks
The US and Taiwan agreed on Wednesday to begin talks on trade and economic initiatives as the US stepped up support for the island amid rising tensions with China.
However, the possibility of a free trade agreement – broader in nature and something Taiwan has been pushing for – remains unknown.
Wailegala said Taiwan “has done a fantastic job as a US partner” and recent tensions have made a stronger case for a bilateral trade agreement.
The US-Taiwan 21st Century Trade Initiative, announced in June, is “not a free trade agreement,” Wailegala said, but it is a “stepping stone,” he added.
“Four years ago we had no economic dialogue channel. And now we have four different agreements and more are waiting in the wings,” he said.