Taiwan 2002Taiwan

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Taiwan - Introduction 2002
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Background: In 1895 military defeat forced China to cede Taiwan to Japan however it reverted to Chinese control after World War II. Following the Communist victory on the mainland in 1949 2 million Nationalists fled to Taiwan and established a government using the 1947 constitution drawn up for all of China. Over the next five decades the ruling authorities gradually democratized and incorporated the native population within its governing structure. This culminated in 2000 when Taiwan underwent its first peaceful transfer of power from the Nationalist to the Democratic Progressive Party. Throughout this period the island has prospered to become one of East Asia's economic 'Tigers.' The dominant political issues continue to be the relationship between Taiwan and China - specifically the question of eventual unification - as well as domestic political and economic reform.

Taiwan - Geography 2002
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Location: Eastern Asia islands bordering the East China Sea Philippine Sea South China Sea and Taiwan Strait north of the Philippines off the southeastern coast of China

Geographic coordinates: 23 30 N 121 00 E

Map referenceSoutheast Asia

Total: 35,980 km²
Note: includes the Pescadores, Matsu, and Quemoy
Water: 3,720 km²
Land: 32,260 km²
Comparative: slightly smaller than Maryland and Delaware combined

Land boundaries: 0 km

Coastline: 1566.3 km

Maritime claims
Exclusive economic zone: 200 NM
Territorial sea: 12 NM

Climate: tropical; marine; rainy season during southwest monsoon (June to August); cloudiness is persistent and extensive all year

Terrain: eastern two-thirds mostly rugged mountains; flat to gently rolling plains in west

Extremes lowest point: South China Sea 0 m
Extremes highest point: Yu Shan 3,997 m

Natural resources: small deposits of coal natural gas limestone marble and asbestos
Land use

Land use
Arable land: 24%
Permanent crops: 1%
Other: 75%

Irrigated land: NA km²

Major rivers

Major watersheds area km²

Total water withdrawal

Total renewable water resources

Natural hazards: earthquakes and typhoons

Note: strategic location adjacent to both the Taiwan Strait and the Luzon Strait

Taiwan - People 2002
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Population: 22,548,009 (July 2002 est.)
Growth rate: 0.78% (2002 est.)
Below poverty line: 1% (2000 est.)

Noun: Chinese (singular and plural)
Adjective: Chinese

Ethnic groups: Taiwanese (including Hakka) 84% mainland Chinese 14% aborigine 2%

Languages: Mandarin Chinese (official) Taiwanese (Min) Hakka dialects

Religions: mixture of Buddhist Confucian and Taoist 93% Christian 4.5% other 2.5%

Demographic profile
Age structure

Age structure
0-14 years: 21% (male 2,464,290; female 2,268,627)
15-64 years: 70% (male 8,010,014; female 7,774,296)
65 years and over: 9% (male 1,053,975; female 976,807) (2002 est.)

Dependency ratios

Median age

Population growth rate: 0.78% (2002 est.)

Birth rate: 14.21 births/1000 population (2002 est.)

Death rate: 6.08 deaths/1000 population (2002 est.)

Net migration rate: -0.3 migrant(s)/1000 population (2002 est.)

Population distribution


Major urban areas

Current issues: air pollution; water pollution from industrial emissions raw sewage; contamination of drinking water supplies; trade in endangered species; low-level radioactive waste disposal
International agreements party to: none of the selected agreements because of Taiwan's international status
International agreements signed but not ratified: none of the selected agreements because of Taiwan's international status

Air pollutants

Sex ratio
At birth: 1.08 male/female
Under 15 years: 1.09 male/female
15-64 years: 1.03 male/female
65 years and over: 1.08 male/female
Total population: 1.05 male/female (2002 est.)

Mothers mean age at first birth

Maternal mortality ratio

Infant mortality rate: 6.8 deaths/1000 live births (2002 est.)

Life expectancy at birth
Total population: 76.74 years
Female: 79.71 years (2002 est.)
Male: 73.99 years

Total fertility rate: 1.76 children born/woman (2002 est.)

Contraceptive prevalence rate

Drinking water source

Current health expenditure

Physicians density

Hospital bed density

Sanitation facility access

People living with hivaids: NA
Deaths: NA

Major infectious diseases

Obesity adult prevalence rate

Alcohol consumption

Tobacco use

Children under the age of 5 years underweight

Education expenditures

Definition: age 15 and over can read and write
Total population: 86% (1980 est.)
Male: 93% (1980 est.)
Female: 79% (1980 est.)
Note: literacy for the total population has reportedly increased to 94% (1998 est.)

School life expectancy primary to tertiary education

Youth unemployment

Taiwan - Government 2002
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Country name
Conventional long form: none
Conventional short form: Taiwan
Local short form: T'ai-wan
Local long form: none
Former: Formosa

Government type: multiparty democratic regime headed by popularly elected president and unicameral legislature

Capital: Taipei

Administrative divisions
Note: Taiwan uses the Wade-Giles system for romanization

Dependent areas


National holiday: Republic Day (Anniversary of the Chinese Revolution) 10 October (1911)

Constitution: 1 January 1947 amended in 1992 1994 1997 and 1999

Legal system: based on civil law system; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations

International law organization participation


Suffrage: 20 years of age; universal

Executive branch
Chief of state: President Shui-bian CHEN (since 20 May 2000) and Vice President Annette Hsiu-lien LU (since 20 May 2000)
Election results: Shui-bian CHEN elected president; percent of vote - Shui-bian CHEN (DPP) 39.3%, James SOONG (independent) 36.84%, LIEN Chan (KMT) 23.1%, HSU Hsin-liang (independent) 0.63%, LEE Ao (CNP) 0.13%
Elections: president and vice president elected on the same ticket by popular vote for four-year terms; election last held 18 March 2000 (next to be held NA March 2004); premier appointed by the president; vice premiers appointed by the president on the recommendation of the premier
Head of government: Premier (President of the Executive Yuan) Shyi-kun YU (since 1 February 2002) and Vice Premier (Vice President of the Executive Yuan) Hsin-yi LIN (since 1 February 2002)
Cabinet: Executive Yuan appointed by the president

Legislative branch
Elections: Legislative Yuan - last held 8 December 2001 (next to be held NA December 2004); note - the National Assembly is a nonstanding body and is called into session
Election results: Legislative Yuan - percent of vote by party - DPP 39%, KMT 30%, PFP 20%, TSU 6%, independents and other parties 5%; seats by party - DPP 87, KMT 68, PFP 46, TSU 13, independents and other parties 11

Judicial branch: Judicial Yuan (justices appointed by the president with consent of the National Assembly; note - beginning in 2003 justices will be appointed by the president with consent of the Legislative Yuan)

Political parties and leaders: Democratic Progressive Party or DPP [Frank Chang-ting HSIEH chairman]; Kuomintang or KMT (Nationalist Party) [LIEN Chan chairman]; People First Party or PFP [James Chu-yu SOONG chairman]; Taiwan Solidarity Union or TSU [Chu-wen HUANG chairman]; other minor parties

International organization participation: APEC AsDB BCIE ICC ICFTU IFRCS IOC WCL WTrO

Diplomatic representation
In the us: none; unofficial commercial and cultural relations with the people of the US are maintained through an unofficial instrumentality the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office (TECRO) in the US with headquarters in Taipei and field offices in Washington and 12 other US cities
From the us: none; unofficial commercial and cultural relations with the people on Taiwan are maintained through an unofficial instrumentality - the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) - which has offices in the US and Taiwan; US office located at 1700 N. Moore St. Suite 1700 Arlington VA 22,209-1996 telephone: [1] (703) 525-8,474 FAX: [1] (703) 841-1385); Taiwan offices located at #7 Lane 134 Hsin Yi Road Section 3 Taipei Taiwan telephone: [886] (2) 2,709-2000 FAX: [886] (2) 2,702-7,675; #2 Chung Cheng 3rd Road 5th Floor Kaohsiung Taiwan telephone: [886] (7) 224-0154 through 0157 FAX: [886] (7) 223-8,237; and the American Trade Center Room 3,208 International Trade Building Taipei World Trade Center 333 Keelung Road Section 1 Taipei Taiwan 10,548 telephone: [886] (2) 2,720-1550 FAX: [886] (2) 2,757-7,162

Flag descriptionflag of Taiwan: red with a dark blue rectangle in the upper hoist-side corner bearing a white sun with 12 triangular rays

National symbols

National anthem

National heritage

Taiwan - Economy 2002
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Economy overview: Taiwan has a dynamic capitalist economy with gradually decreasing guidance of investment and foreign trade by government authorities. In keeping with this trend some large government-owned banks and industrial firms are being privatized. Real growth in GDP has averaged about 8% during the past three decades. Exports have provided the primary impetus for industrialization. The trade surplus is substantial and foreign reserves are the world's third largest. Agriculture contributes 2% to GDP down from 35% in 1952. Traditional labor-intensive industries are steadily being moved offshore and replaced with more capital- and technology-intensive industries. Taiwan has become a major investor in China Thailand Indonesia the Philippines Malaysia and Vietnam; 50,000 Taiwanese businesses are established in China. Because of its conservative financial approach and its entrepreneurial strengths Taiwan suffered little compared with many of its neighbors from the Asian financial crisis in 1998-99. The global economic downturn however combined with poor policy coordination by the new administration and increasing bad debts in the banking system pushed Taiwan into recession in 2001 the first whole year of negative growth since 1947. Unemployment also reached a level not seen since the 1970s oil crisis.

Real gdp purchasing power parity

Real gdp growth rate: -2.2% (2001 est.)

Real gdp per capita ppp

Gross national saving
Gdp composition by sector of origin

Gdp composition by end use

Gdp composition by sector of origin
Agriculture: 2%
Industry: 32%
Services: 66% (2000 est.)

Agriculture products: rice corn vegetables fruit tea; pigs poultry beef milk; fish

Industries: electronics petroleum refining chemicals textiles iron and steel machinery cement food processing

Industrial production growth rate: -5% (2001 est.)

Labor force: 9.8 million (2001 est.)
By occupation services: 56%
By occupation industry: 36%
By occupation agriculture: 8% (2001 est.)
Labor force

Unemployment rate: 4.5% (2001 est.)

Youth unemployment

Population below poverty line: 1% (2000 est.)

Gini index

Household income or consumption by percentage share
Lowest 10: NA%
Highest 10: NA%

Distribution of family income gini index: 33 (2000)

Revenues: $36 billion
Expenditures: $36.1 billion, including capital expenditures of $NA (2002 est.)

Public debt

Taxes and other revenues


Fiscal year: 1 July - 30 June (up to FY98/99); 1 July 1999 - 31 December 2000 for FY00; calendar year (after FY00)

Current account balance

Inflation rate consumer prices: 0.5% (2001 est.)

Central bank discount rate

Commercial bank prime lending rate

Stock of narrow money

Stock of broad money

Stock of domestic credit

Market value of publicly traded shares

Current account balance

Exports: $122 billion f.o.b. (2001)
Commodities: machinery and electrical equipment 55% metals textiles plastics chemicals
Partners: US 23.5% Hong Kong 21.1% Europe 16% ASEAN 12.2% Japan 11.2% (2000)

Imports: $109 billion f.o.b. (2001)
Commodities: machinery and electrical equipment 50% minerals precision instruments
Partners: Japan 27.5% US 17.9% Europe 13.6% South Korea 6.4% (2000)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

Debt external: $40 billion (2000)

Stock of direct foreign investment at home

Stock of direct foreign investment abroad

Exchange rates: new Taiwan dollars per US dollar - 34.6 (2002) 34.49 (yearend 2001) 33.08 (yearend 2000) 31.4 (yearend 1999) 32.22 (1998) 32.05 (1997) 27.5 (1996)

Taiwan - Energy 2002
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Electricity access

Electricity production: 149.78 billion kWh (2000)
By source fossil fuel: 69%
By source hydro: 6%
By source other: 0% (2000)
By source nuclear: 25%

Electricity consumption: 139.3 billion kWh (2000)

Electricity exports: 0 kWh (2000)

Electricity imports: 0 kWh (2000)

Electricity installed generating capacity

Electricity transmission distribution losses

Electricity generation sources


Refined petroleum

Natural gas

Carbon dioxide emissions

Energy consumption per capita

Taiwan - Communication 2002
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Telephones fixed lines

Telephones mobile cellular: 16 million (September 2000)

Telephone system
General assessment: provides telecommunications service for every business and private need
Domestic: thoroughly modern; completely digitalized
International: satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (1 Pacific Ocean and 1 Indian Ocean); submarine cables to Japan (Okinawa), Philippines, Guam, Singapore, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Australia, Middle East, and Western Europe (1999)

Broadcast media

Internet country code: .tw

Internet users: 11.6 million (2001)

Broadband fixed subscriptions

Taiwan - Military 2002
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Military expenditures
Dollar figure: $8,041 million (FY01)
Percent of gdp: 2.8% (FY01)

Military and security forces

Military service age and obligation

Terrorist groups

Taiwan - Transportation 2002
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National air transport system

Civil aircraft registration country code prefix

Airports: 39 (2001)
With paved runways total: 37
With paved runways over 3047 m: 8
With paved runways 2438 to 3047 m: 8
With paved runways 914 to 1523 m: 8
With paved runways under 914 m: 2 (2002)
With paved runways 15-24 to 2437 m: 11
With unpaved runways total: 2
With unpaved runways 15-24 to 2437 m: 1
With unpaved runways under 914 m: 1 (2002)

Airports with paved runways
Total: 37
Over 3047 m: 8
2438 to 3047 m: 8
914 to 1523 m: 8
Under 914 m: 2 (2002)
15-24 to 2437 m: 11

Airports with unpaved runways
Total: 2
15-24 to 2437 m: 1
Under 914 m: 1 (2002)

Heliports: 3 (2002)

Pipelines: petroleum products 3,400 km; natural gas 1800 km (1999)

Total: 1,108 km
Narrow gauge: 1,108 km 1.067-m gauge (519 km electrified)
Note: in addition to the above routes in common carrier service, there are several thousand kilometers of 1.067-m gauge routes that are dedicated to industrial use (2001)


Waterways: NA

Merchant marine
Total: 152 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 4,262,451 GRT/6,596,950 DWT
Note: includes some foreign-owned ships registered here as a flag of convenience: Hong Kong 3, Japan 1 (2002 est.)
Ships by type: bulk 40, cargo 28, combination bulk 3, container 53, petroleum tanker 17, refrigerated cargo 9, roll on/roll off 2

Ports and terminals

Taiwan - Transnational issues 2002
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Disputes international: involved in complex dispute over the Spratly Islands with China Malaysia Philippines Vietnam and possibly Brunei; Paracel Islands occupied by China but claimed by Taiwan and Vietnam; claims Japanese-administered Senkaku-shoto (Senkaku Islands/Diaoyu Tai) as does China

Refugees and internally displaced persons

Illicit drugs: regional transit point for heroin and methamphetamine; major problem with domestic consumption of methamphetamine and heroin

Sightseeing Pass

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