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macrohistory & world report

Taiwan

Map of Taiwan

Taiwan (capital Taipei)

World Factbook as of November 2014: "Taiwan has a dynamic capitalist economy with gradually decreasing government guidance of investment and foreign trade. Exports, led by electronics, machinery, and petrochemicals have provided the primary impetus for economic development. This heavy dependence on exports exposes the economy to fluctuations in world demand. Taiwan's diplomatic isolation, low birth rate, and rapidly aging population are other major long-term challenges. Free trade agreements have proliferated in East Asia over the past several years, and following the landmark Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) signed with China in June 2010, Taiwan in July 2013 signed a free trade deal with New Zealand—Taipei's first-ever with a country with which it does not maintain diplomatic relations—and in November inked a trade pact with Singapore... Taiwan's Total Fertility rate of just over one child per woman is among the lowest in the world, raising the prospect of future labor shortages, falling domestic demand, and declining tax revenues. Taiwan's population is aging quickly, with the number of people over 65 accounting for 11.2% of the island's total population as of 2012. The island runs a large overall trade surplus largely because of its surplus with China, and its foreign reserves are the world's sixth largest, behind China, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Russia, and Switzerland. In 2006 China overtook the US to become Taiwan's second-largest source of imports after Japan. China is also the island's number one destination for foreign direct investment. Taiwan since 2009 has gradually loosened rules governing Chinese investment on the island, and has also secured greater market access for its investors in the mainland. In August 2012, Taiwan Central Bank signed a memorandum of understanding on cross-Strait currency settlement with its Chinese counterpart."

Healthcare: Taiwan established a government-run universal National Health Insurance (NHI) program in 1995. Enrollment inthe program is mandatory. Healthcare facilities are largely privately owned. Doctors are either salaried staff physicians in hospitals or self-employed owners of medical practices known as clinics. Every citizen has his own computer card, which has reduced administrative costs to around 2 percent of over-all.

Revenues are low relative to GDP – 8.9% – lower even than Singapore's, leaving a lot of money for consumption or investors. It's corruption index is a little poorer than other countries of its per capital wealth level but equal to that of mainland China.

GDP annual growth rate estimate
2012: 1.3%
2011: 5.2%
2010: 10.9%
2009: -1.9%
2008: 0.7%
2007: 6%

2006: Seventy percent of manufacturing by Taiwanese companies takes place in China.

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Unemployment rate
2012: 4.3%
2011: 4.3%
2010: 5.2%
2009: 5.9%

Labor force
2010: 5.2% in agriculture, 35.9% in industry, 58.8% in services

Import/exports
2011: imports $298.6 billion, exports $325.1 billion (108.9% of imports) – favorable trade balance.

Millitary expenditures as a percentage of GDP
2006: 2.2%

People

Density for 2005: 710 persons per square kilometer.

Ethnic groups
World Factbook: Taiwanese (including Hakka) 84%, mainland Chinese 14%. indiginous 2%.

Religions
World Factbook: mixture of Buddhist and Taoist 93%, Christian 4.5%, other 2.5%

Geography

Off the southeast coast of China, 180 kilometers. Includes islands closer to the Asian mainland: the Pescadores, Matsu, and Quemoy. Eastern two-thirds of the island is mostly rugged mountains. East and west the island is about 110 kilometers wide. North and south it is a little more than 400 kilometers (250 miles). The climate is tropical.

Government

Multi-party democracy.  Taiwan now has a popularly elected president and a unicameral legislature. Capital: Taipei.

Recent History

Taiwan's healthcare benefitted from Taiwan's economic success. Its population grew 5.2 percent between 1994 and 2000 while the country's supply of health professionals increased 39.6 percent. The number of physicians increased by 33.5 percent, and the number of hospital beds increased by 32.3 percent.

SOURCES:
The World Factbook

Copyright © 2009-2013 by Frank E. Smitha. All rights reserved.