Back

Country Reports

Taiwan Country Report

Content provided by
IHS Markit Logo

Risk Level

Low
Moderate
Elevated
High
Very High
Severe
Extreme

Overview

Executive Summary

Taiwan's election results indicate a major victory for the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party (DPP). President Tsai Ing-wei will continue with a strong mandate for policy continuation on moderately pro-independent, but not actively escalatory, cross-strait relations. Tsai's moderate pro-independence approach indicates that Taiwan will not pursue outright independence, but is unlikely to accept the "One China Policy" and will reject the application of "One Country, Two Systems" to Taiwan.DPP is likely to strengthen its New Southbound Policy of economic diversification by accelerating relations with countries of strategic importance. Likely partners are Australia, Japan, and the United States, with which Taiwan's July 2019 defence white paper has also called for stronger security relationships. Taiwan is also likely to purchase more military equipment from the US, increase national-security collaborations, and conduct regular defence and government official visits.Cross-strait relations are likely to continue to deteriorate. However, trade and investment to Taiwan are likely to remain resilient. Mainland China and Taiwan will probably avoid undermining long-term economic co-operation because of the need to protect traditional pro-mainland China business groups in Taiwan and substantial investment interests in both countries. As such, mainland China and Taiwan will probably avoid actions that may hurt vital economic sectors.Taiwan is likely to pursue stronger oversight against the mainland Chinese technology and telecommunications sectors over alleged national security concerns. Tsai highlighted in her victory speech the need to safeguard Taiwan's democratic system and national security. This policy priority is demonstrated by the passage of the new anti-infiltration bill in January 2020, which establishes a legal apparatus to investigate suspected mainland Chinese influence in Taiwan's political affairs.
Last update: February 12, 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 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/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 elevated risk of damage and disruptions.

Last update: March 18, 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, as well as foreign visitors to Taiwan. Although targeted primarily at curbing alleged mainland Chinese espionage activities, the new law will also help reduce terrorism risks.

Last update: March 18, 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: March 18, 2020

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 equipment 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: March 18, 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 protests in 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: March 18, 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