Importing from Taiwan to the UK: A Business Guide

One of Asia’s strongest performing economies, Taiwan developed substantially in the second half of the 20th century, and continues to perform well to this day due to its thriving technology imports.  

These make up as much as 60 per cent of Taiwan’s GDP, aided by strong connections between Taiwan and its neighbour, China.

However, Taiwan is about more than just a thriving ICT and technology sector, and it’s constantly diversifying its output, with free-trade agreements established with both the EU and the USA, among others.


At present, the UK is Taiwan’s third largest trading partner in Europe, with strong business relations already fostered through bi-lateral trade talks. But, what does your business need to know if you’re trading with Taiwan?


Taiwan Fact File:

Official Language: Standard Mandarin
Currency: New Taiwan Dollar
Central Bank: Central Bank of the Republic of China (Taiwan)
Calling Code: +886
Capital City: Taipei
Largest City: New Taipei
Population: 23,373,517 million


Importing from Taiwan: A General Guide

If you’re importing from Taiwan, you’ll need to pay VAT and duty on your goods. Due to this, you’ll need what’s known as a commodity code. This will show you’ve paid the correct tax and duty.

Duties vary between 0% and 17%, and there are exceptional circumstances where it is even higher than this. The standard 20% rate of VAT applies to most goods shipped from Asia, although a reduced rate of 5% is available on some items, while some children’s goods are exempt entirely. Plus, if the goods are for use in your business, then you may be able to reclaim this VAT, so it’s worthwhile checking.


Import Declaration

If you’re importing from Taiwan, you’ll have to declare your imports to HMRC; this is something we can do for you.


CHIEF System

All imports into the UK from Taiwan must be declared on a Single Administration Document (SAD) on the Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight (CHIEF) system.

Essential Customs Information

If you’re heading over to Taiwan, then passengers get a duty free allowance of 3,000 Taiwan Dollars (TWD).

Any goods that you ship must have invoices attached to them, with the value of the invoice indicated as >+1 (any currency). Taiwan’s customs do not accept pro forma invoices. Plus, any shipments that are greater than TWD 3,000 will need a Power of Attorney and GUI Number, which is a tax ID.


Prohibited Items

As well as the standard list of prohibited items, there are also a number of other items that you cannot import from Taiwan. These include:

Hazardous goods, or anything that may be combustible
Food imported from China’s mainland
Gambling devices
Blank invoices
Personal mail
Precious metals and stones
Soil samples

There are also a number of restricted items, so check with the Chamber of Commerce before you travel.