Taiwan's exports in 2016 dropped for the second consecutive year despite strong growth in December, customs data showed on Monday.
Exports stood at 280 billion U.S. dollars in 2016, down from 285 billion U.S. dollars of 2015, due to reductions in optical instruments, plastic and rubber products, mineral products and chemicals.
The only sector that recorded growth was electronic components, with an increase of 8.1 percent.
In the month of December, however, exports surged 14 percent year on year, near to a 4-year high, boosted by strong demand for semi-conductor products and the rising price of metals.
The data indicated a slight decrease in trade with the Chinese mainland and Hong Kong, but the mainland and Hong Kong remain its largest trade partners.
The island still saw a trade surplus of 49.5 billion U.S. dollars last year, as its imports also decreased by 2.6 percent to stand at 231 billion U.S. dollars.
Taiwan's finance authority predicted improvements in 2017 based on its highly-competitive semi-conductor sector, and the expansion of its Internet, car-borne electronics and high-performance computing industries.
The authority also said uncertainties, such as possible trade protectionism by the new U.S. government and the localization of the mainland's supply chain, may affect Taiwan's exports.