MANILA, Philippines – The resurgence of the export sector in Taiwan is seen as a positive development that will create more job opportunities for Filipino workers in the country.
"This is good news for Filipino workers. The resurgence of the export sector in Taiwan ensures the security of jobs there, and this could also create new job opportunities," said Manila Economic and Cultural Office (MECO) chairman Tomas Alcantara.
Citing latest statistics from the Taiwan Ministry of Economic Affairs, Taiwan's export orders reached an all-time high last March, expanding 43.66 percent from a year earlier to US$34.39 billion, as Asia-Pacific markets demanded for more Taiwan-made panels, computers and handsets.
Alcantara said MECO in Taipei will monitor developments closely, especially on jobs for higher skilled workers, which is the main thrust of MECO's efforts in Taiwan.
According to Huang J-shih, director of the statistics department at Taiwan's Ministry of Economic Affairs, last March's export orders beat the previous record set in October 2007, when export orders totaled US$32.2 billion, as he pointed to China and Japan as mainly fueling the growth.
Huang said China, which is procuring increasing numbers of Taiwanese LCD panels, ordered US$9.8 billion in products last March, a year-on-year growth of 59.7%, while Japan, whose consumers are fond of Taiwanese handsets, saw orders jump 93.6% to US$4 billion. He said six ASEAN countries - Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam - ordered US$3.2 billion in -products from Taiwan last March, a growth of 61.8% from a year earlier.
Last March's 43.66% growth is the sixth consecutive month of growth as Taiwan emerges from the global financial crisis based on reports.
Cheng Cheng-mount, head economist at Citigroup Taiwan Inc, said the March figure is higher than the market consensus forecast of 38.0% and their expectation of 40.0%.
Alcantara said the performance of Taiwan's export sector is expected to advance further based on the forecasts of local economists. Cheng said he expected second-quarter exports to beat seasonality despite a slowing growth year-on-year because of a better global economic outlook and strong orders industry-wide.
The electronics manufacturing sector is the biggest employer of overseas Filipino workers in Taiwan.
Based on 2009 figures, of the 70,537 OFWs in Taiwan, some 46,972 are engaged in the electronics manufacturing, 25,000 of whom are in computer and communications and electronics parts manufacturing. Meanwhile, some 20,000 OFWs are in social services (caregivers, caretakers, nursing aids and domestic workers) and the others are in the construction sector, agriculture and fishery.
Philippine labor attaché Reydeluz Conferido said last December that at least 40% of the 5,000 permanently displaced OFWs in Taiwan at the height of the global crisis in 2008 are now back to work.
Prospects for redeployment are getting better with the recovery of Taiwan's job market due to a new stimulus package of the government and the recovery of the electronics sector.