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Trade Profile

In this page: Foreign Trade in Figures | Trade Compliance | Standards


Foreign Trade in Figures

International trade is the engine of growth in Taiwan, accounting for nearly 130% of GDP. Taiwan's economy is highly export-oriented, so it depends on a regime open to international trade and remains vulnerable to fluctuations in the global economy. The electronics industry is the largest industrial export sector and it receives the most US investment. Taiwan, as an independent economy, became a member of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) under the name of the Separate Customs Territory of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu (Chinese Taipei) in 2002. The main export partners of Taiwan are China (28% of total exports), Hong Kong (13%), the United States (11.7%) and Japan (6.6%). The island has signed a free trade agreement with New Zealand and Singapore and continues its rapprochement with China. However, this process could be complicated by the election of a party more hostile to China. In addition, the election of Donald Trump in the United States effectively halted progress of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TTIP) indefinitely.

The island has a structurally surplus trade balance (USD 58 billion trade surplus during 2017). In 2017, it shipped USD 317.7 billion worth of goods around the globe, a 13.3% gain from the previous year. The main exports are electrical equipment (44.5% ot the total exports), machinery and computers (11.5%), plastics (6.4%), medical apparatus (5.2%), mineral fuels (3.4%) and vehicles (3.1%). Taiwan imported USD 259.6 billion in 2017, mainly electrical equipment (26% of the total), mineral fuels (15.6%), machinery and computers (13.4%).

Foreign Trade Indicators 20122013201420152016
Imports of Goods (million USD) 277,324278,010281,850237,549230,568
Exports of Goods (million USD) 306,409311,428320,092285,421280,321
Imports of Services (million USD) 41,83341,78945,06546,75652,407
Exports of Services (million USD) 48,61650,69656,52056,47341,443

Source: World Trade Organisation (WTO) - 2017; World Bank - 2017


Exchange Rate System

Local Currency
New Taiwan Dollar (TWD)
Exchange Rate Regime
Floating exchange rate regime.
Level of Currency Instability
Monetary Indicators 20132014201520162017
New Taiwan Dollar (TWD) - Average Annual Exchange Rate For 1 USD 30.9531.5733.0933.5930.68

Source: CIA – The World Factbook - Latest available data.


Trade Compliance

International Conventions
Member of World Trade Organisation
Main International Economic Cooperation
In addition to the WTO, Taiwan is a member of the Asian Development Bank as "Taipei, China", the Pacific Economic Cooperation Council (PECC), the Pacific Basin Economic Council (PBEC), and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum as "Chinese Taipei". These developments reflect Taiwan's economic importance and its desire to become further integrated into the global economy. Taiwan and China have signed in 2010 an Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement which plans to facilitate trade between the two "partners" in organizing the progressive reduction of tariffs on hundreds of goods and facilitating the opening of some service industries. Further information about Taiwan’s bilateral and multilateral trade agreements is available on the Board of Foreign Trade’s (BOFT) website.
Party of the ATA Convention on Temporary Admissions and Use of the Carnets
Carnets are accepted only for goods traveling between Taiwan and the U.S.

As a Reminder, the ATA is a System Allowing the Free Movement of Goods Across Frontiers and Their Temporary Admission Into a Customs Territory With Relief From Duties and Taxes. The Goods Are Covered By a Single Document Known as the ATA Carnet That is Secured By an International Guarantee System.
Look Up the Other Member Countries And Read the Web Pages of the World Customs Organization Devoted to the ATA Carnet.
Party of the TIR Convention

As a Reminder, the TIR Convention and its Transit Regime Contribute to the Facilitation of International Transport, Especially International Road Transport, Not Only in Europe and the Middle East, But Also in Other Parts of the World, Such as Africa and Latin America.
The UNCTAD Website Allows You to Read the TIR Convention, See the List of Member Countries And to Find Further Information.
Accompanying Documents For Imports
Commercial invoice, bill of lading or airway bill, packing list, and certificate of origin. Shipments of agricultural products, plants, and animals may require certificates of inspection or quarantine issued in the country of origin. Most documents presented for use in customs clearance processing must be prepared in Chinese to avoid delays and expedite clearance processing. More information on FedEx website.
Free Zones
There are seven free trade zones in Taiwan : in Keelung, Taoyuan, Kaohsiung, Taichung, Taipei, Suao and Anping.
For Further Information
Taipei custom office.
Department of Customs Administration
Ministry of Economic Affairs
Non Tariff Barriers
Taiwan is a very open country with very low customs duties. However, many Chinese products are prohibited (especially foodstuffs). Since mainland China and Taiwan are members of the WTO, these restrictions are diminishing. Most of the permit-required categories are related to public sanitation and national defense concerns. Non-tariff barriers include tests and standards, labeling requirements, long, costly and non-transparent regulatory approval processes and rules on local licensing of professionals. Impediments remain especially in services, retail, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, agriculture and the medical device sectors.
Sectors or Products For Which Commercial Disagreements Have Been Registered With the WTO
Disputes registred with the WTO involve the following sectors: steel, information technology products and electronics. For more details consult this link.
Assessment of Commercial Policy
Barriers to exchanges, inventoried by the United States
Barriers to exchanges, inventoried by the EU.
Sanitary and phytosanitary barriers, inventoried by the EU.

Learn more about How to Export to Taiwan on, the Directory for International Trade Service Providers.



National Standards Organisations
Bureau of Standards
Integration in the International Standards Network
In an effort to enhance industrial competitiveness, maintain fair trade, and protect consumers as well as ensuring sustainable economic development, the Bureau of Standards, Metrology and Inspection under the Ministry of Economic Affairs has been dedicated to promoting standardization, metrology and inspection systems in line with international practices.
Bilaterally, the BSMI has concluded cooperation arrangements with 30 organizations of 23 countries. More information on the Bureau of standards website.
Obligation to Use Standards
More information on the Bureau of standards website.
Classification of Standards
Chinese National Standard (CNS). National standards are classified under 26 categories.
Assessment of the System of Standardization
The conformity assesment can only be done by the BSMI or testing laboratories recognized by the BSMI.
Online Consultation of Standards
Bureau of standards website.
Certification Organisations
Bureau of standards
Associations of Standards Users


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Last Updates: May 2018