Fuel prices hit a new high amid the Russia-Ukraine war. In Taiwan, the price of 95 unleaded gasoline has raised to NT$33.1 per liter.
Kung Ming-hsin, Minister, National Development Council: “Taiwan's GDP growth should be reduced by 0.37 percent.”
The Russia-Ukraine conflict would bring only a limited impact on Taiwan's economy, the National Development Council Minister Kung Ming-hsin says. Taiwan imports mainly coal, natural gas, metal, and non-alloy steel from Russia. In 2021, Taiwan imported about $5 billion worth of these natural resources from Russia, which took up 1.3 percent of all imports. Taiwan also imported about $170 million worth of wood, sunflower seeds, corn, and neon from Ukraine in 2021. In exports, Taiwan exports less than 1 percent of its goods to Ukraine and Russia.
Chiu Yi-ying, Legislator (DPP): “With Ukraine currently no longer able to supply more than half of the world with neon, Taiwan is prepared and fully in stock with neon for chip manufacturing.”
Wang Mei-hua, Minister, MOEA: “Taiwan had looked into alternative sources for neon during the 2014 Crimea Crisis.”
Major commodities such as soybean and wheat come mainly from the U.S. and Brazil. Taiwan only imported 1.64 percent of the nation's corn from Ukraine. Due to inflationary pressure, the Ministry of Finance (MOF) in February made suitable tax adjustments by lowering import customs duties by half for butter, milk powder, cement, and beef and removing business tax for soybean, wheat, and corn. These tax benefits last till the end of April. People worry about rising commodity prices after April without the benefits.
Kao Hung-an, Legislator (TPP): “Should the government lower custom duties for more items or should we continue on with the current benefits?”
Lee Ching-hua, Admin. Deputy Minister, MOF: “The Ministry of Finance will wait for the Cabinet's final decisions and we will take corresponding measures.”
As to whether soaring oil prices would jack up electricity prices, the Ministry of Economic Affairs said that they are currently discussing with experts and will announce the latest rate for electricity prices on April 1. Ukraine recently has asked Taiwan electronics giant Asustek Computer Inc. to withdraw from Russia. ASUS has not yet made a response. Economics Affair Minister Wang Mei-hua said it is up to each company to make its own decision on whether to participate in the international sanctions placed on Russia. Companies have to carefully consider their reputation, Wang said, and she would support ASUS if the company chooses to withdraw.