OUR TRADE IN PERSPECTIVE
Over 400 years ago, the Vereenigde Oostindische Compagnie (VOC), the world’s very first joint stock company whose trade links spanned the world at the time, arrived on the island of Formosa, where it opened a trading post in the southern city of Tainan.
The Dutch built the fortress “Zeelandia” as a base of their operations and started trading with aboriginal tribes. They also developed large-scale agriculture with the help of imported labor from the Mainland’s Fujian province. However, the period of Dutch rule was brief: during the Siege of Fort Zeelandia, the Chinese military leader Cheng Cheng-kung (Koxinga) forced the Dutch to surrender and expelled them from Taiwan in 1662.
Many of the economic policies implemented by the Dutch during this brief period of interaction subsequently formed the basis of Taiwan’s modern international trade. Taiwan’s earliest mercantile history and, to a certain degree, the roots of its present-day economy, can be traced back to the system of ports, trade relations and trade routes that were established during the Dutch Formosa period back in the 17th century.
Today, the Netherlands still has close economic relations with Taiwan. The Netherlands is the second largest trading partner of Taiwan in Europe, and is ranked as one of the biggest foreign investors in Taiwan. Taiwan consistently features in the number three ranking of most important export destinations for Dutch goods, not seldom surpassing exports to Japan and South Korea.
The highlights below summarize the strong economic connection between the Netherlands and Taiwan:
- The Netherlands is the largest European investor in Taiwan.
- The Netherlands is the 2nd largest trading partner from the EU in Taiwan.
- The Netherlands is the 15th largest trading partner worldwide in Taiwan.
- The Netherlands is the first investment destination of Taiwan in EU.
The majority of products which are exported from the Netherlands to Taiwan fall into the following categories:
- Manufactured goods
- Transport equipment