Taipei, Taiwan — Machine manufacturers in Taiwan are keeping a close eye on escalating trade talks between the U.S. and China, and think the tariffs will ultimately benefit them if they go into effect.
Alex Ko, chairman of Taiwan Association of Machinery Industry, said May 6 that news of President Donald Trump's threat to impose 25 percent tariffs on Chinese goods will likely have a negative impact in the short-term for Taiwanese companies, but it will ultimately benefit those companies as the price of Chinese machines will increase because of the tax.
He said the uncertainy about the tariffs slowed buying from many different customers, making the end of 2018 and the start of 2019 not great for machine makers in Taiwan.
"Companies have stopped their procurements [of new machines], and we hope it will be resolved so we can take advantage of it," Ko said.
Ko was among the speakers at the opening reception of an event to discuss smart manufacturing and Industry 4.0 in Taiwan on May 6.
"In the long term, we will benefit," Ko said about Taiwanese machine makers. "Buyers will leave the Chinese marketplace and set up factories in other countries. The trade war will change the ecosystem. China will no longer be the world's factory."
Bush Hsieh, managing director of Chumpower Machinery Corp., agreed with Ko.
"All companies feel this impact, but they are just in the short-term," Hsieh said. "We are going to see increasing demand for our products."
Chumpower makes blow molding machines primarily for food and drink packaging.
"This is turbulence right now, but we will move into less rough air and be back on the original path soon," Hsieh said. "This downturn allows us to find the demands of our customers and capture the momentum when it starts again."