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Taiwan Country Report

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Risk Level

Low
Moderate
Elevated
High
Very High
Severe
Extreme

Overview

Executive Summary

Ruling party Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has gained political support following mainland China's announcements of "One Country Two Systems" strategy for Taiwan and recent protests against Chinese influence in Hong Kong. Tsai Ing-wen's hard-lined stance on these issues have likely won her support and contributed to her victory in the DPP primaries. The KMT remains fragmented in its election platform and candidate of choice. Its presidential candidate, Kaohsiung mayor Han Kuo-yu, is increasingly viewed with suspicion by the younger voters because of his apparent close ties with the mainland Chinese government. This has helped the odds of billionaire Terry Gou winning the KMT primary nomination. Relations with Beijing will continue to deteriorate. Although President Tsai Ing-wen pledged to maintain the status quo in cross-Strait relations and improve the economy, those relations have already deteriorated since her inauguration in May 2016. Mainland China's "One Country, Two Systems" strategic towards Taiwan is unlikely to be accepted across the political spectrum. Taiwan will probably continue to pursue closer relationships between Taiwan and the US and better recognition in international organisations. Military build-up will accelerate amid increasingly provocative and frequent Chinese military exercises around the Taiwan Strait. The DPP does not differ substantially with Ma's KMT on domestic economic policies, and the business environment will remain generally stable. The trend towards greater economic integration, accelerated under the mainland China-friendly administration of former president Ma since 2008, will probably continue. However, in sectors such as high-tech manufacturing, robotics, software development, and artificial intelligence, Taiwan will probably follow US policies in increasing regulatory oversight against mainland Chinese companies.
Last update: July 20, 2019

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 is very low for international companies. As of 2019, Taiwan ranks 13th globally in the World Bank's Ease of Doing Business index. 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/telecom 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 elevated risk of damage and disruptions.

Last update: June 19, 2019

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. The Legislative Yuan passed an amendment to the National Security Law in April 2018 which, when it comes into effect, will grant more powers to the National Security Bureau to monitor the travel plans and movement of Taiwanese residents, as well as foreign visitors in Taiwan.

Last update: June 21, 2019

Crime

Taiwan enjoys some of the lowest crime rates in the world. Non-violent economic crimes such as the production of counterfeit goods were historically a serious problem, 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: May 4, 2019

War Risks

War risk emanates from mainland China, which claims Taiwan as an integral territory and has threatened to recover Taiwan by force if Taiwan declares independence. There has been increased frequency of military activities and increased threat of mainland Chinese military action against Taiwan. At the same time, US security collaboration with Taiwan has increased gradually, with increased sales of military equiptment and patrols by US warships through the Taiwan Strait. Both developments increase the risks of unintended escalation during accidental confrontations by the two militaries. Formal declaration of independence, although highly unlikely, would almost certainly trigger a mainland Chinese military response, most probably a naval blockade.

Last update: May 18, 2019

Social Stability

Moderate

Protests in Taiwan are mostly peaceful in nature, with low risks of personal injury and property damages. Main protest risks today are more likely to centre on domestic issues such as nuclear energy, gay rights, public-sector retirement benefits and affordable housing for low-income citizens, which typically draw few participants. Issues relating to cross-Strait relations have historically drawn the largest and most emotional protests; however, such protests have decreased under the DPP government.

Last update: June 19, 2019

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