Doing legal business in Taiwan

One of the greatest democratic and economic success stories of the late 20th century, Taiwan has risen to become an innovative and prosperous modern region.

Over the last few decades, the island of 23 million people has shifted from lower-end manufacturing to high-tech production and grown rich on exports to mainland China.

With a government focused on developing stronger trade links with the rest of Asia and furthering tertiary industries, Taiwan has strong potential for firms specialising in international trade.

Taiwan’s official designation as the Republic of China reflects its complex relationship with the Chinese mainland.

China’s civil war ended in 1949 when the Chinese Communist Party defeated the Chinese Nationalist Party and founded the People’s Republic of China. The nationalists fled the mainland and established the Republic of China on the island of Taiwan.

Despite both sides maintaining their claims to sovereignty over the entire Chinese territory, Taiwan has developed a thriving democracy and become one of the largest economies in Asia.

Taiwan has established itself as a powerhouse of high-tech production, although heavily reliant on China: 26% of exports headed to the mainland in 2016. Its strong balance of payments provides Taiwan with the world’s sixth largest foreign exchange reserves.

The government has ramped up efforts to develop its service sector and strengthen trade ties with South and Southeast Asia and elsewhere since President Tsai Ing-Wen came to power in 2016.

Taiwan is a jurisdiction that’s relatively open to foreign investment and offers significant potential for companies exploring alternatives to mainland China.

Taiwan attracted around US $8.2 billion in foreign direct investment in 2019. It ranked 28 in Transparency International’s 2019 Corruption Perception Index and was 15 out of 190 economies in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Index 2019.

Led by a progressive and reform-minded government, Taiwan is likely to continue to improve as a destination for English and Welsh firms.

Practising in Taiwan

Foreign lawyers can apply to become foreign legal affairs lawyers in Taiwan. This entitles them to practise home and international law. They can also operate on a ‘fly-in, fly-out' basis.

In-house foreign lawyers can appear in court as agents of companies.

To practise Taiwanese law, foreign lawyers must requalify as an attorney-at-law by passing the attorney qualification exams and be approved by the Taiwan Ministry of Justice.

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