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Import regulations and customs duties  - Distribution - Transportation of goods - Standards - Patents and brands

Import regulations and customs duties

At present, imported goods are classified into two categories: the authorised goods, and the controlled goods.
The authorised goods category mostly comprise raw materials, capital goods, semi-manufactured and consumer goods. The category of controlled goods includes definite products, subject to economical and strategic limitations (mainly products manufactured locally such as agricultural products, chemicals, iron and steel products and luxuries).
For the import of certain products, a general import license, must be obtained from the authorised bank. Sometimes, specific licenses issued by certain organisations are necessary (tobacco, wine, medicines).
The import of controlled goods must be carried out along with state agents, certain specific organisations or public companies, such as the Trust exchange of China and the Taiwan Supply Bureau.


Customs duties
The Taiwanese tariffs are based on the Nomenclature of the Harmonised system of Name and Codification of Goods.




Apart from distinct opportunities offered to foreign companies thanks to modernisation of the Taiwanese economy, Taiwan evolved into a centre of operation for Asia for several Western companies, by means of collaboration and joint venture agreements with Taiwanese partners. Thus Taiwan presented itself as an important investor in the countries of the zone (mainly in the Fujian's Chinese coastal provinces and Guangdong).
The most important opportunities in terms of business are in the motorcar, aeronautics, telecommunication, railway industries and various labour and machinery industry sectors.
Most purchases from governmental bodies are carried out by the Central Trust of China, a financial institution where the information about international tender openings can be obtained.
The minority business is dominated by more than 400,000 small family-run businesses, although there are various state co-operatives. There is a recent development of commercial hypermarkets and self-service stores.
In 1990, 137 supermarkets were opened. Taiwanese consumers are very much conscious of the price and quality of the products they buy.


Transportation of goods

By road
Taiwan's road network is 20,156 km long, with the major part being tarred The roads which extend all over the coast with ramifications towards inland and main highway connecting the Taiwanese island from North ( Calling) to South ( Cashing) along the West coast. The network is currently expanding to the Western part of the island. Road transport is the most used way of transportation: in 1994 , 313.436 million tons of goods were transported by road.

By rail
Taiwan has a circular network of 1,108 km around the island, of which 500 km are electrified. One of the main objectives of the Six Years National Development Plan 1991-96, was the improvement of the rail network and also total electrification and construction of double track for 1999. There is also an expressway project which would connect the main zone of population of the West coast. This is planned to be achieved by 2003. In 1994, the rail traffic was 2,007 tons km.

By sea
In 1994, sea traffic reached 402,619 million tons of which 251,378 million tons (62.4 %) were transported through Kaohsiung's port. The other important ports are Keelung, Hualien, Taichung and Suao. Kaohsiung is the third most important port of the world in terms of volume of transportation.


The organisation in charge of the process of standardisation, ratification and certification in Taiwan is the National Office of Standards, which is under the Ministry of Economy. This institution periodically publishes a brochure of standards (Chinese National Standards).
The companies established in Taiwan can use the Cheng symbol, mark of quality, corresponding to the standards that are published by the National Office of Standards.

Patents and brands

In order to register a patent, a trademark or a technical design, it is necessary to present it beforehand to the Intellectual Property Office, and apply to an expert in Taiwanese patents recognised by the authorities.
It is recommended to use the services of a competent legal adviser before applying for patent or trademark registration.
The protection of a foreign trademark is allowed on reciprocal basis with the trademark's country of origin.

Texts currently applying to patents/brands

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Last modified in 2006 - ongoing update
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