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Taiwan's Import Regulations

[Taiwan's Import Regulations]





Taiwan has allowed liberalized trade for the majority of cargo imported from foreign countries. The term "liberalized trade" used in this context means that import clearance may be permitted without any specific restrictions.


However, Taiwan has controlled importation of specific items in the manners of putting regulations such as the issuance of import license, approval, etc. for the purposes of the compliance with the provisions of international treaties, national defense, and security, culture, hygiene, environmental and ecological protection, etc. These regulations on importation have been combined into Taiwan's Import Regulations System.


In order to import regulatory items, the importer shall meet the requirements specified by relevant regulations, and import clearance may be not allowed without additional approval and permit.



Legal Base on Import Regulations


The Acts supporting Taiwan's import regulations consist of around 50 Acts including the Foreign Trade Act and the Enforcement Rules of Foreign Trade Act, the Act Governing Food Sanitation, the Pharmacists Act, and the Waste Disposal Act. etc.



Competent Authority, etc.


Administrative agencies such as the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Education, and the Ministry of Environment, and the Ministry of Transportation and Communications, the Ministry of Interior, etc. are all responsible for the compliance with import regulations. Affiliated Agencies such as Directorate General of Customs, and the Bureau of Foreign Trade(BOFT-hereafter, referred to as the BOFT) are controlling detailed affairs.



Regulatory Items By Import Regulations


Currently, regulatory items on importation amount to 5000 items by CCC(HS code), and the following are such regulatory categories:


Goods imported from specific countries or regions(specific countries herein refer to China mostly.);

Goods which are likely to affect national defense, security, culture, hygiene, environmental and ecological protection;

Endangered animals and plants and products thereof;

Goods subject to import quota system;

Import-prohibited goods specified by other applicable Acts announced by the competent authority.



Personnel Scope for the Application of Import Regulation


Registration of Trade Business


A corporation or business firm registered with the BOFT as an exporter/importer may engage in export/import business, which is one of personnel regulations.

In accordance with the Article 9 and 10 of the Foreign Trade Act, the trade may be available for the person who meets the following conditions:


The person who registers with BOFT as a trader which mainly engage in export/import business;

Any juristic person, organization, or individual not operating export/import as its (his/her) regular business and not registering with the BOFT as a trader may export/import specific goods by obtaining permits(approval) from the BOFT for every export/import.

Coverage of import license


1) Registered traders and governmental agencies, etc.

With respect to traders, government agencies, and public service agencies, public and private schools, they don't need to obtain import license from the BOFT for the importation of goods not pertaining to import-restricted goods stipulated in import regulations.


But, if they intend to import goods whose import is restricted, they shall obtain import license from the BOFT.


2) Any juristic person, organization, or individual not registering as traders

They may import specific goods, but in principle, they shall obtain import license from the BOFT for every import.


But, for the following cases exceptionally, importations may be allowed without import license.


Personal effects for travellers or ships and aircrafts crews not exceeding specified quantity;

Importation of goods in low quantity and for personal use;

Goods imported by the members of each consulates and international organizations, and goods imported for official or personal use of personnels with diplomatic privileges provided by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs;

Goods imported for disaster relief;

Other goods exempt from import license by the BOFT.



Import Regulations and Import License


The term "import license" refers to an import permit certificate issued by the BOFT for regulatory items on importation.

That is, it's designed to effectively manage items subject to import regulations, and in principle, every regulatory items on importation shall obtain import license(import code) from the BOFT to undergo import customs clearance.


In case import license(or permit code) is granted, such permit may be transmitted to electronic clearance system of Customs to process all clearance procedures electronically.


Premises for issuance of import license


Any importer who intends to obtain import license shall furnish supporting documents related to the matters required by import regulations and approval documents, etc. of competent authorities, and apply for import permits to the BOFT.


Application and procedure of issuance of import license


In order to obtain import license, the importer shall obtain approval ,or supporting documents specified by item from competent authorities, and apply for import license to obtain it. Then, the importer shall declare relevant importation to Customs.


1) Application to the competent authority

The importer who handles regulatory items on importation shall apply to the competent authority for obtaining approval and supporting documents by furnishing required data. Required documents for application all vary by item, but most of documents consist of base data that an application and relevant items comply with related regulations and laws.

The competent authority may issue an approval, etc. if no irregularity is found in the documents submitted.


2) Application for the issuance of import license to the BOFT


The person who received approval and supporting documents from the competent authority shall apply to the BOFT for the issuance of import license. Required documents for applying for import license are as below:


Import license application;

Copy of supporting document issued by the competent authority(original copy if necessary)

Business registration;

Customs registration.


The BOFT generally determines the possible issuance of import license through document examination. The BOFT issues import license and provides import code if documents submitted pass the examination.


The importer shall declare importation to Customs by furnishing other documents required for customs clearance based on import license and license code.


The validity term of import license


Generally, an import license is valid for 6 months from the date issued. But, the validity term may be reduced against some specific cargo.


The validity term may be extended 30 days before expiry of such period, not exceeding 6 months. Import license exceeding the validity term may be nullified, and the procedures for issuance shall be proceeded from the scratch.



Other Regulations Related to Importation


Import Quota


Import quota means that importer may import specific goods in a low tax rate if he/she obtains quota or approval within the scope of restricted import quantity specified by a government. On the contrary, a high tax rate may be applied to the goods which fail to obtain quota and approval,


Since Taiwan joined WTO in 2001, for the compliance with the provisons of WTO, it has enforced import quota system under which the quantity of import is restricted especially against 18 items of agricultural products including peach, lemon, apple, grapes, etc. and 20 items of marine or manufactured products including fish, small vehicles, etc.


Import regulations on strategic items


Taiwan currently doesn't join international convention on the control of strategic items, but it has controlled the importation of strategic items by domestic Acts such as <Regulations Governing Export And Import Of Strategic High-tech Commodities>.


Any person who intends to import cargoes subject to controlled strategic items shall obtain the following documents from the BOFT, and import clearance may be unavailable without these certificates.


IC : International Import Certificate

WA : Written Assurance Certificate

DV : Delivery Verification Certificate


Import strategic items are prohibited for the transshipment, and use other than original purpose, and re-exportation, etc. If they are to be transferred and sold in domestic, the agreement for limits in use between transferor and transferee shall be made, and such agreement document shall be retained for 5 years.


Regulations on goods of mainland China


Due to special historical relationship between Taiwan and mainland China, both countries have enforced import control against counterpart goods. Due to the increase in bilateral trade volume and accession to WTO, the scope of restricted goods have gradually reduced, but still, Taiwan imposes the restriction and prohibition on a wealth of goods imported from China.


1) Control by import regulations

Taiwan's Import regulations manages the import from mainland China in three manners as below:


Import-prohibited goods

With respect to the items subject to import-prohibited goods(code MW0), importation from mainland China shall be absolutely prohibited. Currently, up to 2100 items by CCC(HS) code pertain to such category.


Conditional import goods

With respect to the items subject to conditional import goods(code MP1), such goods may be imported on the condition that they shall meet specified requirements, or are subject to the post-management. Currently, up to 500 items by CCC(HS) code pertain to such category.


Automatic import-permitted goods

From among import-prohibited goods as above, the remaining goods other than conditional import goods may pertain to the automatic import-permitted goods. such goods may be imported without restrictions, in principle.


2) Control by Summary of Regulations


Taiwan's BOFT established <The list and summary of regulations governing conditional import approval for commodities of China> by taking into account the difficulty of controlling goods made in China by specific codes (MW0, MP1)by import regulations only.

Accordingly, to figure out the regulations on import prohibition, etc. from China, it's recommended to refer to said summary as well as import regulations.


3) Regulations on Marking

For importation of goods made in China to Taiwan, the goods marked with People's Republic of China or P.R.C, Chinese flag, and words, Communist Party of China, or the equivalent marks shall be prohibited for customs clearance, or the clearance may be allowed after the correction of such marks.


Regulations on marking country of origin of import goods


Not every goods imported to Taiwan shall be marked with country of origin unlike export goods. In accordance with the Regulations Governing Import Commodity, designated import goods only announced by the FOBT shall be marked with country of origin.


Therefore, it depends on the selection of importers to mark country of origin on import goods which don't pertain to designated import goods as being necessarily marked with marking country of origin. But, such self-marking goods shall not be affixed with false marks, or marks which are likely to mislead or confuse general people.


Designated import goods subject to marking country of origin cover foods, shoes, clothing(textile materials), ceramics, etc.


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