Taiwan Country Report
The pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) won a decisive victory in the January 2016 general election, capturing the presidency and a parliamentary majority. 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: in June, China cut a communication channel after she failed to officially acknowledge the 1992 consensus, or "One-China" policy. Nonetheless, the trend towards greater economic integration, accelerated under the China-friendly administration of former president Ma Ying-jeou since 2008, will probably continue. The DPP does not differ substantially with Ma's Kuomintang (KMT) party on domestic economic policies, and thebusiness environment will remain generally stable.
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. Petty corruption has been reduced. As of 2018, Taiwan ranks 15th globally in the World Bank's Ease of Doing Business index. 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.
Despite being named as an aspirational target by the Islamic State since 2015, Taiwan faces 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.
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. Formal declaration of independence, although highly unlikely, would almost certainly trigger a mainland Chinese military response, most probably a naval blockade.
Issues relating to cross-Strait relations have historically drawn the largest and most emotional protests; however, such protests have decreased under the DPP government. Main protest risks today are more likely to centre on domestic issues such as public-sector retirement benefits and affordable housing for low-income citizens, which typically draw few participants. Protests in Taiwan are mostly peaceful in nature, with low risks of personal injury and property damages.
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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