Taiwan Country Report
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.
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.
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.
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.
Vaccinations required to enter the country
No vaccinations are required to enter the country.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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