A Chinese invasion of Taiwan would trigger a global shortage of semiconductors, Taipei’s top trade negotiator said.
Such an invasion would upend global production of consumer goods from mobile phones to electric vehicles, former economic affairs minister John Deng said.
Any Chinese military attack on Taiwan would have a greater impact on global trade flows, including semiconductors, than the Ukraine war, he added.
“The disruption to international supply chains; disruption on the international economic order; and the chance to grow would be much, much (more) significant than this one,” he said. “There would be a worldwide shortage of supply.”
Taiwan dominates the global market for production of the most advanced semiconductors and its exports were worth $118 billion last year, its data showed.
Deng said he hoped to decrease the 40% share of its exports that go to China.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February has triggered higher commodity prices and food export bans, leading to fears of famine in poorer countries.
Deng said that if China invaded Taiwan, the potential disruptions could be worse.
Taiwan has reported no signs of an imminent attack from its increasingly belligerent neighbour but has raised its alert level since the Ukraine war began, wary of Beijing’s intentions.
Deng spoke on the sidelines of a major World Trade Organization (WTO) ministerial meeting in Geneva.
The Russian invasion of Ukraine is the first time in the 27-year-old global trade watchdog’s history that one WTO member has invaded another.
The body is hoping to reach a package of deals, including on food security to ease strained supplies, but tensions generated by the war could make that more difficult, trade sources say.
Taiwan, which has joined Western sanctions on Russia, participated in a standing ovation for Ukraine’s WTO delegate.
The WTO is one of the few multilateral organisations where China and Taiwan work side-by-side since Beijing blocks its participation in others.
- Reuters, with additional editing by George Russell