Really Going WTO?  (c) Simon Xi Zhang, 2002



3. Prohibitions on Mainland Imports

Besides the indirectness requirement for cross-strait trade in goods, there were many mainland agricultural and industrial products non-importable in Taiwan at all. It was a plain refusal for importation, rather than trade barriers under the color of sanitation or quarantine regulations.

Taiwan established a special system for mainland imports. In early 1990s, because the number of importable mainland products was so small, the Ministry of Economic Affairs just published a "positive list" to enumerate the productclassification numbers of those "importable" mainland goods. Later in 1996, in order to facilitate traders conducting their business, a "negative list" became available. However, the entries on negative list remained out-numbered those on positive list.

Upon an examination of Taiwan's Harmonized System Code for importation and tariffs, with respect to importation from worldwide, there had been no "prohibited items" since 1989, and the "controlled import items" had been at a level ranging 2.4-2.6% of all HS Code listings during the whole 1990s. All others were importable and more than 90% HS Code products were exempt from the import licensing requirement[23]. As long as it was not Chinese product, Taiwan's importation measure was fairly of free trade nature. This showed that Chinese products were discriminated grossly by Taiwan Government against goods of other origins.


[23] See, Table of Development in Republic of China's Liberalization of Imports (Dec. 1983 -- Mar. 2002), published by Bureau of Foreign Trade of Ministry of Economic Affairs.