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Metal Casting Technologies : September 2005
of negative growth ever recorded. Unemployment also reached record levels. Output recovered moderately in 2002 in the face of continued global slowdown, fragile consumer confidence, and bad bank loans. Growing economic ties with China are a dominant long-term factor. Exports to China -- mainly parts and equipment for the assembly of goods for export to developed countries -- drove Taiwan's economic recovery in 2002. Although the SARS epidemic, Typhoon Maemi, corporate scandals, and a drop in consumer spending caused GDP growth to contract to 3.2% in 2003, increasingly strong export performance kept Taiwan's economy on track, and the government expects Taiwan's economy to grow 4.1% in 2005. GDP -- real growth rate: 3.2% (2004 est.) GDP -- per capita: USD23,400 (2004 est.) purchasing power parity -- Population below poverty line: 1% (2000 est.) Labor force: 10.08 million (2004 est.) Unemployment rate: 5% (2004 est.) Industries: electronics, petroleum refining, chemicals, textiles, iron and steel, machinery, cement, food processing The metal casting industry in Taiwan is huge compared to the rest of the countries in the Australasian region (I am excluding China, India and Korea from Australasia). According to Modern Castings magazine's 2003 Casting Census, Taiwan foundries produce 1.5 million tonnes of castings per annum. That's more than all of Southeast Asia, Australia and New Zealand combined. As one might expect from such a large producer, castings made in Taiwan tend to run the gamut from municipal to automotive, and the automotive industry market is very well developed. Generally speaking, Taiwanese foundries are well advanced, reflecting the Taiwanese people's tendencies to readily grasp new ideas and mew technologies. For the visitor to Taiwan, getting around is easy, and not expensive, but language can be a problem. Who's Who of Metals 2005/6 45