The Taiwan Machine Tool & Accessory Builders’ Association (TMBA) yesterday gave a conservative industry outlook for next year, citing rising protectionism in the US.
From January through last month, machine tool shipments to the US, the second-largest export market, dropped by 9.8 percent annually to US$287 million due to weak demand, the association said.
Growing protectionism in the US has made global companies hesitant about investing in equipment, which might drag down machine tool shipments, association secretary-general Carl Huang (黃建中) said by telephone.
Huang said he is concerned that protectionism might spread to other countries, adding that some European and Asian clients have become hesitant about future orders.
Clients are observing the US’ trade policies after Donald Trump won the presidential election, he said.
Huang said local companies are seeking business opportunities in emerging Southeast Asian nations, hoping to offset the increasing trade protectionism in the West.
Huang said that local machine tool makers should develop five-axis machines and multitasking machines to satisfy global customers’ needs.
In the first 10 months of this year, local machine tool makers shipped US$2.35 billion worth of goods overseas, down 11.6 percent from the same period last year, according to the latest data compiled by the association.