US companies in Taiwan say political climate deterring investment

A man watching the Taipei 101 building with binoculars from the Bidhanyen Taoist Temple in Taipei in Taipei. - AFP

Taipei (AFP): Two-thirds of respondents to a poll by a top US business group in Taiwan said growing uncertainty in relations between Taipei and Beijing was deterring expansion or investment on the self-ruled island.

In a survey released on Tuesday, almost half of respondents told the American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) in Taiwan that they were redrafting their contingency plans, or aim to, over "the new geopolitical climate".

Of the 214 eligible members that responded, 47%t said they have either revised -- or plan to revise -- their plans.

Taiwan lives under the constant threat of invasion by China, which views the self-ruled democracy as part of its territory to be seized one day, by force if necessary.

Beijing has ramped up military, diplomatic and economic pressure in recent years, and tensions soared when then-US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan in August.

According to the latest survey AmCham Taiwan sent to its 437 eligible members, 33% of respondents said they had experienced "disruption" over growing tensions with China, a significant jump from the 17% that said so in August.

One-third of firms reported "elevated concern or policy changes from their global headquarters", followed by disruptions due to growing shipping, insurance or financial costs, as well as staff anxiety, delays and "lost investment or strategic opportunities".

What the poll described as "personal anxiety" about the increased tensions remained flat between August and December 2022.

When asked what Taipei should focus on in the coming three years, more than half of respondents said "cross-Strait relations".

The 2023 Business Climate Survey did not elaborate on what AmCham's members were revising about their continuity plans.

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