The political system is based on the 1947 Constitution of the Nationalist Republic of China, which has been amended several times since the 1990s in line with Taiwan's evolution from a one-party state to a fully-fledged representative democracy. The constitution provides for a president, a National Assembly and five governing bodies: Executive Yuan (cabinet chaired by the prime minister, who is appointed by the president), Legislative Yuan (parliament), Judicial Yuan (supervision of the judiciary), Control Yuan (court of auditors with supervisory powers, including in the area of security) and Examination Yuan (responsible for civil service examinations, remuneration etc.). The parliament currently has 225 members, but this will be reduced to 113 by a constitutional amendment. The election system will also be changed to a district system, making it much more difficult for small parties to win seats. The president is elected for a four-year term. The system is semi-presidential, with executive power shared between the president and the prime minister.
Taiwan experienced martial law under the autocratic rule of the KMT until 1987. Since its lifting, Taiwan has worked hard to develop a multi-party democratic system. The Legislative Yuan (parliament) and the president are elected in direct elections. The current political situation is described in the history section.
Taiwan has one of the largest currency reserves in the world. It is among the world's top producers of information technology and is the world's largest producer of certain components. With a GDP per capita of $50,500 (2017), it is a sizeable consumer market. After the IT crisis, the economy has crawled back out of the doldrums. In 2017, economic growth was 2.9%.
Many Taiwanese companies have factories in mainland China, mostly for the purpose of cheap labour. However, more advanced technology and R&D remain in Taiwan for the time being. Taiwan is now investing heavily in China.
The ongoing economic integration with China also offers good opportunities for foreign companies to work in the Chinese market. Due in part to the high level of education, more and more large multinationals are investing in their own research centres.
The total value of exports was $350 billion in 2017. The main export products are electronics, displays, machinery and chemicals. China, Hong Kong, the United States and Japan are the main export partners. The total value of imports was $269 billion in 2017. The main import products are electronics, machinery, oil and metals. Japan, China and the United States and are the main import partners.
CIA - World Factbook
BBC - Country Profiles
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