How to do business in Taiwan
There are a number of organisations involved in the regulation of companies in Taiwan. These include the:
Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA), which issues business laws and regulations: http://www.moea.gov.tw/Mns/english/home/English.aspx
Bureau of Foreign Trade (BOFT): http://www.trade.gov.tw/English/
Bureau of Standards, Metrology and Inspection (BSMI): http://www.bsmi.gov.tw/wSite/mp?mp=2
Taiwan Intellectual Property Office: https://www.tipo.gov.tw/mp.asp?mp=2
Financial Supervisory Commission: http://www.fsc.gov.tw/en/index.jsp
Ministry of Finance, which administers taxation and customs: https://www.mof.gov.tw/Eng/Home
Fair Trade Commission: http://www.ftc.gov.tw/internet/english/index.aspx
Ministry of Health and Welfare, which licenses and inspects food and pharmaceutical products: http://www.mohw.gov.tw/mp-2.html
Taiwan Council of Agriculture (COA): http://eng.coa.gov.tw/
Environmental Protection Administration: https://www.epa.gov.tw/mp.asp?mp=epaen
Ministry of Labour: http://english.mol.gov.tw/
Contact the DIT team at the British Office Taipei, at: https://www.gov.uk/world/organisations/department-for-international-trade-taiwan#contact-us to help find tax and legal advisers before entering into agreements.
[Source – DIT/ gov.uk]
Export licences for Taiwan
You must have a licence to supply anything on the UK strategic export control lists to Taiwan.
Find out more about getting a licence to export military or dual use goods, services or technology to Taiwan, at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/beginners-guide-to-export-controls.
Find out which products will need certification or licensing before they can be exported to Taiwan, at: https://www.gov.uk/starting-to-export/licences.
Law on marketing and selling
If you are selling to consumers you must be aware of and comply with Taiwan’s Consumer Protection regulations. Contact the Taiwan Fair Trade Commission at: http://www.ftc.gov.tw/internet/english/index.aspx for further information.
Standards and technical regulations
The Bureau of Foreign Trade (BOFT) is responsible for regulations covering import and export activities, and supervision of controlled items. See: http://www.trade.gov.tw/English/.
The Bureau of Standards, Metrology and Inspection (BSMI) is responsible for standardisation, metrology and inspection systems in line with international practices. See: http://www.bsmi.gov.tw/wSite/mp?mp=2.
Agricultural, industrial and mining commodities must comply with inspection requirements. Inspection is conducted according to four schemes including:
registration of product certification
declaration of conformity
BSMI also inspects imported agricultural, fishery and food products. 1,853 agricultural and fishery products are subject to inspection. The Department of Health and Welfare provides details of the relevant regulation. See: http://www.mohw.gov.tw/mp-2.html.
You should consider taking out product liability insurance if you manufacture or supply a physical product that is sold or given away for free. See: https://www.abi.org.uk/products-and-issues/choosing-the-right-insurance/business-insurance/liability-insurance/product-liability-insurance/.
[Source – DIT/ gov.uk]
Packaging and labelling your products
Contents of packaged goods must be shown in metric units, and Taiwan's Consumer Protection Law requires that all imported goods have Chinese language labels and instructions.
Additional advice on certification requirements and labelling for organic products can be obtained from the Taiwan Council of Agriculture (COA), at: http://eng.coa.gov.tw/.
Be aware that packages may receive heavy handling and be left in the open air for longer than anticipated, so you should take into account the Taiwanese climate.
Protecting your Intellectual Property (IP)
Taiwan joined the WTO in 2002. The Taiwan Intellectual Property Office is responsible for the administration of patent, trademark and copyright laws, see: https://www.tipo.gov.tw/mp.asp?mp=2.
The establishment of a dedicated IP Court in 2008 was widely welcomed by the business community, and seen as a step in the right direction. Furthermore, the Trade Secrets Act was amended in January 2013 to increase criminal penalties for trade secret misappropriation, including enhanced sanctions of up to ten years imprisonment for cross-border secrets theft.
The British Trade and Cultural Office in Taiwan (now the British Office Taipei) and the Taipei Representative Office in the UK signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Intellectual Property in September 2013 (https://www.gov.uk/government/world-location-news/uk-and-taiwan-signs-mou-on-intellectual-property). Under the MOU, Taiwan and the UK exchange views on international IP issues, including internet piracy, patent law harmonisation and changes in IPR legislation.
More recently, the Patent Attorney Act was amended on 1st January, 2016. The amendment simplified administrative procedures, expanding areas of practice and introducing heavier punishment for malpractice.
Taiwan’s patent and trademark systems are still being revised and are now more in line with international standards.
Globally, Taiwan is ranked 24th out of 128 markets for Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) in the 2017 International Property Rights Index Report. See: https://www.internationalpropertyrightsindex.org/country/taiwan-china.
Businesses are generally encouraged to learn more about IP issues relevant to their specific industry sector and to consider defensive measures early in their plans to enter the Taiwanese market. An independent Intellectual Property Rights lawyer can help you to determine the best strategy for your company.
Contact the DIT team at the British Office Taipei, at: https://www.gov.uk/world/organisations/department-for-international-trade-taiwan#contact-us for details of local legal professionals who can give you advice on protecting your IP in Taiwan.
Tax and customs considerations
Contact the DIT team at the British Office Taipei, at: https://www.gov.uk/world/organisations/department-for-international-trade-taiwan#contact-us, to help find local tax advisers before entering into agreements in Taiwan.
Double taxation agreement
The UK and Taiwan have signed a double taxation agreement, ensuring the same income is not taxed in more than one market. See: www.gov.uk/government/publications/taiwan-tax-treaties.
Corporate income tax (CIT)
Corporate income tax is 17% on total annual taxable income over 120,000 New Taiwan Dollars.
Business tax is imposed on the sale of goods and services within Taiwan, as well as on the importation of goods. Taiwan has two business tax systems:
Value Added Tax (VAT). The VAT system applies to most non-financial businesses at a standard rate of 5%.
Non-Value Added Tax, also known as the Gross Business Receipts Tax (GBRT). The GBRT system applies to financial institutions, small businesses and certain restaurants, and is calculated on the basis of their gross business proceeds, at rates ranging from 0.1% to 25%.
[Source – DIT/ gov.uk]
Value Added Tax (VAT)
If you are registered for Value Added Tax (VAT) you can zero-rate the VAT on most goods you export to Taiwan. You will need to get evidence of the export within three months from the time of sale.
Find more information on VAT in non-EU markets and zero rating conditions at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/vat-exports-dispatches-and-supplying-goods-abroad.
Excise duty in Taiwan
You should check you have paid excise duty on any alcohol, alcoholic drinks, energy products, electricity or tobacco products you send to Taiwan.
Contact the DIT team at the British Office Taipei, at: https://www.gov.uk/world/organisations/department-for-international-trade-taiwan#contact-us for details of professionals who can provide advice on taxation in Taiwan.
Customs and documentation
Complying with HMRC regulations
You must make export declarations to HMRC through the National Export System (NES) to export your goods to Taiwan. See: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/export-declarations-and-the-national-export-system-export-procedures.
Taiwan follows the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the Harmonized System (HTS, or HS) for the classification of goods. You must classify your goods as part of the declaration, including a commodity code and a Customs Procedure Code (CPC). You can find commodity codes and other measures applying to exports in the UK Trade Tariff: https://www.gov.uk/trade-tariff.
Contact the HMRC Tariff Classification Service at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/notice-600-classifying-your-imports-or-exports/notice-600-classifying-your-imports-or-exports#list-of-useful-contacts for more help.
You must declare any goods that you take with you in your baggage to sell outside the EU, at: https://www.gov.uk/take-goods-sell-abroad.
Temporary export of goods
You can use an ATA (Admission Temporaire/Temporary Admission) Carnet to simplify the customs procedures needed to temporarily take goods into Taiwan. See: https://www.gov.uk/taking-goods-out-uk-temporarily.
You will need an export licence to temporarily take dual use goods to Taiwan.
Use the SPIRE system to apply for a temporary export licence, at: https://www.spire.trade.gov.uk/spire/fox/espire/LOGIN/login.
The Taiwan Customs Administration regulates all goods imported into Taiwan, see: https://eweb.customs.gov.tw/Default.aspx. Customs duty is levied on all imported goods. The rate falls into two categories:
a general tariff rate
a special rate applied to goods imported from territories that offer reciprocal treatment to Taiwan
You can find more about import tariffs in the EU’s Market Access Database at: http://madb.europa.eu/madb/indexPubli.htm.
[Source – DIT/ gov.uk]
It is essential to provide the correct documentation when exporting to Taiwan.
Visit the Taiwan Customs Administration at: https://eweb.customs.gov.tw/Default.aspx or contact the DIT team in the British Office Taipei, at: https://www.gov.uk/world/organisations/department-for-international-trade-taiwan#contact-us for more guidance on export documentation procedures.
Shipping your goods
If you are not knowledgeable about international shipping procedures you can use a freight forwarder to move your goods. A forwarder will have extensive knowledge of documentation requirements, regulations, transportation costs and banking practices in Taiwan.
You can find freight forwarding companies to help you transport your goods to Taiwan via the British International Freight Association (BIFA) at: http://www.bifa.org/home, or the Freight Transport Association (FTA) at: http://www.fta.co.uk/.
There is information about sending goods by post to Taiwan, at: https://www.parcelforce.com/worldwide-directory/taiwan.
Shipping restricted, banned and dangerous goods
Special rules apply if you are shipping dangerous goods to Taiwan. See: https://www.gov.uk/shipping-dangerous-goods/what-are-dangerous-goods.
To find out more about export restrictions on products into Taiwan, see the EU’s Market Access Database: http://madb.europa.eu/madb/indexPubli.htm.
Terms of delivery
Your contract should include agreement on terms of delivery using Incoterms (https://www.gov.uk/guidance/international-trade-paperwork-the-basics#international-trade-contracts-and-incoterms).
UK Export Finance
The government can provide finance or credit insurance specifically to support UK exports through UK Export Finance (UKEF) – the UK’s export credit agency. See: https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/uk-export-finance.
For up-to-date market-specific information on the support available see UKEF’s cover policy and indicators for Taiwan at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/country-cover-policy-and-indicators#taiwan.
[Source – DIT/UKEF/gov.uk]
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