Taiwan - Country Commercial Guide
Import Requirements and Documentation

Includes import documentation and other requirements for both the U.S. exporter and foreign importer.

Last published date: 2020-09-25

Under Taiwan’s Foreign Trade Act, most commodities can be imported freely.  Import permits and licensing are generally not required, and importers may directly apply for customs clearance.

However, there are some exceptions.  The Negative List (in Chinese only) outlines products where import restrictions apply and for which permits or licensing may be required. Commodities on the Negative List include items with national defense, social stability, cultural protection, sanitary, moral, environmental, and ecological implications, as well as those subject to policy demands or covered under certain international agreements.  Products subject to import bans can be imported only with a special permit from the Board of Foreign Trade, while commodities subject to other import conditions may only require general approval from relevant authorities.

A foreign supplier’s pro forma invoice (quotation) is required to apply for an import permit and to establish a letter of credit.  Shipments to or from Taiwan require a commercial invoice, a bill of lading or airway bill, and a packing list.  A certificate of origin is also required for designated commodities such as sedans, other small passenger cars and chassis, tobacco and alcohol products, and some agricultural products.  Shipments of agricultural products, plants, and animals to Taiwan may require certificates of inspection or quarantine issued in the country of origin and are subject to inspection and quarantine upon entry.

Commercial invoices are required for all shipments and must show the import license number; Free on Board (FOB), Cost and Freight (CFR), or Cost, Insurance, and Freight (CIF) value; insurance; freight; and discounts or commissions, if any.  The commodity description and value shown on the commercial invoices must agree with those on the import license, if any.  No requirements exist as to the form of a commercial invoice or a bill of lading.  A packing list is required for all shipments for which the number of cartons in the shipment exceeds two.  In addition to the information generally included in a standard bill of lading, all marks and case numbers appearing on packages must also be listed.  Customs does not permit the grouping of marks or numbers on a shipment of mixed commodities.  Most documents presented for use in customs clearance processing must be prepared in Chinese to avoid delays and expedite clearance processing.  The Bureau of Foreign Trade (BOFT) uses the following online import application system.