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Country Reports

Taiwan Country Report

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Risk Level

Low
Moderate
Elevated
High
Very High
Severe
Extreme

Overview

Executive Summary

Taiwan’s response to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) virus outbreak has focused on imposing strict travel and quarantine restrictions, rationing and stockpiling medical supplies, and providing subsidies to major affected industries. The government’s early reaction and effective measures have likely contributed to relatively low case numbers compared with its Asian neighbours, which enabled the incumbent Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) to garner popular support. However, weak global demand and prolonged restrictive measures because of the intensification of the outbreak globally will dampen Taiwan’s trade sectors, particularly non-technology industries. IHS Markit has downgraded Taiwan’s growth forecast markedly for this year to -0.06%.President Tsai Ing-wen’s inaugural speech has pointed to policy continuation of the status quo in relations with mainland China, which includes a not-actively independence-seeking, but anti-reunification cross-strait policy. Cross-strait relations are likely to continue to deteriorate because of Taiwan’s increased strategic alignment with the US, likely raising the perception of alleged threat of increased US interference in cross-strait affairs from mainland China’s perspective and increasing the likelihood of more aggressive military posturing in the region.Chinese and Taiwanese military build-up and exercises are highly likely to escalate in frequency and provocativeness. Although the option of using force against Taiwan has gained increased attention domestically in mainland China, the central government is highly unlikely to commit to a full-scale invasion because of likely involvement of US forces. However, increased military deployments near the Taiwan Strait will increase the risk of unintended military escalations.Although unlikely, pathways of escalation could include a sea blockade, the implementation of a no-fly zone, or a limited strategic bombing against some military targets around Taiwan or its outlying islands. Such efforts would have significant commercial implications to cargo, causing economic loss to mainland China and Taiwan. A prolonged dispute would involve cyber, psychological, and information operations and could last for months.
Last update: August 20, 2020

Operational Outlook

Taiwan's operational environment is business-friendly, and the government welcomes foreign investment. The economy has become increasingly open since Taiwan's WTO accession in 2002. Corruption risks are very low for international companies. The labour market is flexible by international standards. Collective bargaining is legally recognised but not mandatory. Although Taiwan's physical infrastructure is highly developed, with excellent highways, rail links, and internet/telecoms penetration rates near the top of the world, Taiwan's high exposure to earthquakes and typhoons mean that much of the infrastructure, especially outside urban areas, are at an elevated risk of damage and disruptions.

Last update: June 25, 2020

Terrorism

Low

Despite being named as an aspirational target by the Islamic State since 2015, Taiwan faces very little risk of terrorism. Anti-terrorism authorities have stepped up security around port infrastructure at all major ports of entry in response to the growing threat of global terrorism. Moreover, in June 2019, parliament passed amendments to the National Security Law granting more powers to the National Security Bureau to monitor the travel plans and movements of Taiwanese residents and foreign visitors. Although targeted primarily at curbing alleged mainland Chinese espionage activities, the new law will also help reduce terrorism risks. Cyber security has become a key strategic sector for development by the Tsai Ing-wen administration.

Last update: July 3, 2020

Crime

Taiwan has some of the lowest crime rates in the world. Non-violent economic crimes such as the production of counterfeit goods were historically prevalent, although more vigorous enforcement during recent years has also reduced the problem. Organised criminal groups exerted considerable influence in local politics in the 1990s, although successive anti-corruption efforts since then have reduced the problem.

Last update: July 10, 2020

War Risks

War risks loom constantly over Taiwan, which mainland China claims as a dissident territory. There has been an increase in Chinese military activity in the Taiwan Strait following Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-Wen’s second-term inauguration and the ouster of pro-mainland China mayor Han Kuo-yu in June 2020. Security collaboration between Taiwan and the US has increased markedly within the past year as part of the Indo-Pacific Deterrence Initiative. Both developments raise the risks of unintended escalation between mainland China, Taiwan, and the United States. A formal declaration of Taiwan’s de facto independence, although highly unlikely, would almost certainly trigger military response.

Last update: July 3, 2020

Social Stability

Moderate

Protests in Taiwan are mostly peaceful in nature, with low risks of personal injury and property damages. Short-term triggers for large-scale protests include solidarity demonstrations in support of Hong Kong SAR, plus protests triggered by domestic issues such as nuclear energy, gay rights, public-sector retirement benefits, and affordable housing for low-income citizens, which are more likely in the months ahead of local or general elections. Issues relating to cross-Strait relations have historically drawn the largest protests. However, such protests have decreased under the DPP government.

Last update: July 3, 2020

Health Risk

Elevated

Vaccinations required to enter the country

No vaccinations are required to enter the country.

Routine Vaccinations

Hepatitis A: A vaccine is available for anyone over one year of age. The vaccine may not be effective for certain people, e.g. those born before 1945 and who lived as a child in a developing country and/or have a past history of jaundice (icterus). These people can instead get a shot of immune globulin (IG) to boost their immunity against the disease.

Hepatitis B: A vaccine is available for children at least two months old.

Diphtheria-Tetanus-Polio: A booster shot should be administered if necessary (once every ten years).

Other Vaccinations

Typhoid Fever: If your travels take you to regions with poor sanitary conditions (for children two years old and up).

Rabies: For prolonged stays in an isolated region (for children from when they can walk).

Japanese Encephalitis: For stays of longer than one month in a rural zone during the rainy season (for children over the age of one). The vaccine is administered in a local medical facility.

For Children: All standard childhood immunizations should be up-to-date. In the case of a long stay, the BCG vaccine is recommended for children over one month and the MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine for children over nine months.

Last update: April 5, 2019

Natural Risks

Severe

Travelers should be aware that the island of Taiwan is located in a zone highly vulnerable to natural disasters (typhoons, floods, earthquakes). The rainy season (monsoon season) extends from June until October and often brings typhoons. In August 2009, Typhoon Morakot devastated the island and left 700 dead. On September 14, 2016, southeast Taiwan was hit by Typhoon Meranti, the most powerful storm in over two decades.

Seismic activity also poses a significant risk. A magnitude-6.4 earthquake struck Tainan (south) in February 2016, resulting in some 100 casualties. A magnitude-6.8 earthquake that struck in 1999 tragically killed 2400 people and left 100,000 others homeless.

Last update: April 5, 2019

Transportation

Moderate

Finally, travelers to the island of Taiwan, formerly known as Formosa, should also note that mountain roads are often narrow, winding, and poorly marked. Furthermore, taxi drivers generally speak little to no English; in order to save time and avoid misunderstandings, have your destination(s) written out in Chinese characters.

Last update: April 5, 2019

Practical Information

Climate

Taiwan has a tropical climate and is regularly exposed to monsoons. The summer lasts from May until September, with temperatures averaging 28°C. In the winter, from December to February, the average temperature is 18°C. Monsoon season lasts from June until October.

Useful Numbers

Country Code: +255
Police: 110
Fire Dept., Ambulance: 119

Electricity

Voltage: 110 V ~ 60 Hz

Outlets:

Last update: April 5, 2019