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[Marking of Country of Origin]
Country of Origin means the nationality of export and import goods, and the region where such goods were produced, manufactured and processed.
Generally, country of origin refers to a nation as a political entity. But colonies, independencies or protectrates, and regions other than independent countries such as Hong Kong and Macao which were reverted to mainland China may be qualified for the country of origin.
But, regional cooperative alliances such as EU, NAFTA, ASEAN may not be country of origin due to the absence of political and economic independency.
Marking country of origin is displaying country of origin on items in ways of prints, labels, etching in secure and easily viewed manner.
Rules of Origin refer to a criteria to decide the country where specific commodities have been produced and manufactured.
In Taiwan, extra cautions are needed for rules of origins because the scope is extremely broad and strictly applied, and it makes troubles frequently at the time of customs clearance.
Especially, unlike other countries where fail to specify country of origin marking for export goods, Taiwan makes it compulsory to indicate country of origin on all the goods exported to foreign countries, which is a unique system of Taiwan to require attention.
On the contrary, for import goods, country of origin marking is enforced for specific items such as clothing, etc.
■ The Distinction between Indicate System of Origin and Verification System of Origin
ㅇIndicate system of origin was devised to secure fair trade, and marking origin is compulsory for the goods subject to compulsory marking. Traders are responsible for marking origin. Without origin marking compliant with rules, relevant items may not go through customs clearance, and such traders also shall be subjected to the legal punishment such as criminal penalty, etc.
ㅇThe verification system allows country of origin of specific goods to be verified by a certificate which is commonly issued by agencies of exporting country, which is designed to receive preferential benefits of tariff(ex. FTA, GSP, etc.). Such certificate isn't compulsory but traders without a certificate aren't qualified for enjoying preferential treatment.
■ Legal Base and Applicable Goods to Indication
Legal base for Taiwan's country of origin for export goods is the Foreign Trade Act, Regulations Governing Export of Commodities, Regulations Governing Import of Commodities, Regulations Governing Marking Country of Origin for Import Specific Textiles, Governing Marking Country of Origin for Import for Import Shoes Products, Public Notice on Marking Country of Origin for Food of the Ministry of Health, Executive Yuan, Treatment of Unclear Marking of Country of Origin, etc.
■ Marking of Country of Origin for Export Commodity
☉ Applicable targets
Any commodity for export shall be marked itself or its internal and external package marked with the country of origin in a conspicuous and durable manner.
In case such a marking cannot be made in accordance with these regulations owing to the special characteristics of the commodity or the special situation of packaging, the exporter shall apply to the Bureau of Foreign Trade(BOFT-hereafter, referred to as the BOFT) for an approval.
☉ Marking methods
Commodities for export and manufactured in the Republic of China shall be marked with "Made in Republic of China", "Made in Taiwan, Republic of China", "Made in Taiwan" or the equivalent in a foreign language.
Commodities for export mentioned in the preceding paragraph shall not be marked with any name of foreign countries or places or any other expressions that can mislead others to believe that the commodities are made in other countries.
But, imported parts/components, on which the original marks of the country of origin may be retained, and except commodities in either of the following situations may be marked with other countries as the country of origin:
ㅇParts/components supplied to foreign buyers for assembly, on which marks of the country of origin, are to indicate the place where the finished products are to be made, with approval from the BOFT. Provided, that their internal or external packages shall still be marked with Taiwan as the country of origin.
ㅇContainers or packing materials supplied to foreign buyers for their use.
With respect to commodities themselves marked with other countries as origin under the preceding paragraph, their internal or external packages shall still be marked with Taiwan as the country of origin.
ㅇFor the re-export of imported commodities, their original marks of country of origin may be retained thereon, and those re-exports without marks of country of origin when imported, may be re-exported likewise.
3) Processing Trade
In case of commodities imported, and processed and then reexported, <processed in Taiwan> shall be marked with commodities themselves and internal and external packings. But if the commodities only undergo any of the following steps, they shall only be marked with the method of processing in Taiwan:
ㅇPreservation required for transportation or storage;
ㅇClassifying, grading and packaging required for marketing or transporting of products;
ㅇAssembling or mixing that does not result in any major difference in the characteristics of the products;
The commodities marked <Processed in Taiwan> or with the method of processing in Taiwan shall also be marked with the country of origin in a conspicuous and durable manner.
■ Marking of Country of Origin for Import Commodities
Not every import commodities, unlike export commodities, need to be marked with country of origin. But, Regulations Governing Import of Commodities specifies that designated import commodities publicly announced by the BOFT only have a obligation to mark country of origin.
Accordingly, import commodities which are not subject to designated import commodities as compulsory marking country of origin may be depending on the importer for their marking country of origin. But, even such commodities shall not be marked with false country of origin, or in a way which leads to mislead people.
Designated import commodities which are forced to mark country of origin in Taiwan cover foods, shoes, clothing(textiles), ceramics, etc. as below.
☉ Marking of Country of Origin for Import Foods
Foods contained in containers or packed(including food containers) are subject to marking of country of origin. The same shall not apply to commodities whose country of origin may be completely confirmed by checking the manufacture of such commodities in Chinese.
1) Methods of Marking
ㅇCountry of origin shall be marked on the containers or packings of foods in Chinese.
ㅇCountry of origin shall be marked in a length and width of 2mm respectively.
ㅇCountry of origin shall not have the likeliness of false, confusing, or misleading marks because the authenticity may be verified based on [Origin recognized standards for import commodities], announced by the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Economic Affairs.
2) Exceptional marking methods
Foods which fail to mark country of origin in accordance with above regulations shall not go through clearance. But, commodities whose country of origin may be confirmed by checking phrases in Chinese, or a manufacture in Chinese may be recognized as exceptional case which isn't subject to marking of country of origin by being confirmed by Customs.
☉ Marking of country of origin for import shoes
1) Marking targets
Shoes or components thereof listed in chapter 64 of CCC code(Taiwan's HS code) which are imported to Taiwan are subject to compulsory marking of country of origin. If such commodities fail to mark country of origin, they shall not undergo import clearance.
Provided, that the same shall not apply to one-time papers or textile material slippers.
2) Methods of Marking
Country of origin marking shall not be easily taken off or deleted. Especially, import shoes shall be marked with country of origin in ways of branding, lettering, printing or sewing in the manufacturing process.
3) Confirmation and supplementation of country of origin marking for import
ㅇFor the import of shoes to Taiwan, the importer shall submit proof documents to verify country of origin to Customs, whether country of origin is marked or not.
It should be noted that clearance itself may be impossible if Customs determines country of origin marking is difficult to be identified even for commodities marked with country of origin.
ㅇWith respect to import shoes which fail to mark country of origin, or violate against marking regulations, Customs may request relevant importer to complement country of origin. In this case, such complementation shall be made within 30 days, and relevant importer shall file a complementation of country of origin containing the time, place and method of complementation, and responsible person, etc.
ㅇCustoms may permit clearance for commodities whose complementary works are finished, and if the importer fails to complete such complementation, or still retain illegal marks, Customs may return such import shoes to foreign countries.
☉ Marking country of origin for import textile materials
1) Marking Targets
Clothing(including knitted articles listed in chapter 61 and non-knitted articles listed in chapter 62), towels, blankets and bed sheets, etc.(hereafter referred to as clothing, etc.) are subject to compulsory marking of country of origin. If such articles violate regulations for marking of country of origin may not be allowed for import clearance.
2) Methods of Marking
ㅇAbove-mentioned textiles articles which are subject to compulsory marking of country of origin shall be marked articles themselves. Provided, that articles which are deemed inappropriate or difficult to be marked with country of origin marking on articles themselves owing to the characteristics of articles may be allowed for marking country of origin by using sticker, tag, etc. if Customs confirms it.
ㅇCountry of origin shall be marked in a durable manner, and shall not be easily taken off or deleted. In addition, it shall be marked in a size of font which final consumers may find it easily to read country of origin of relevant commodities.
ㅇFor clothing, etc. country of origin shall be marked in Chinese or English, and in ways of MADE IN (country name), PRODUCT OF (country name), etc. Textiles imported form Europe may be marked with MADE IN EC , MADE IN EU, etc.
3) Checking and supplementation of country of origin marking for import
For imports of clothing, etc. to Taiwan, relevant importer shall submit proof document to verify country of origin to Customs whether country of origin is marked or not. Like shoes in the preceding paragraph, Customs may order such importer to complement, and to submit a complementation, and Customs may return relevant articles if such complementation isn't made within 30 days.
4) Exception of consignment processing
Exceptionally, clothing, etc. which have been exported to aborad for consignment processing and reimported may be marked with MADE IN TAIWAN, MADE IN R.O.C. Provided, that this is possible on the condition that such reimported articles are subsequently to be exported to specific foreign countries such as the U.S., EU, Canada, Turkey, Brazil, etc.
☉ Marking country of origin for import ceramics
1) Applicable targets
Ceramics imported to Taiwan(chapter 69 of HS code : 6907, 6908) are subject to compulsory marking country of origin, and if such commodities fail to violate regulations for marking of country of origin shall not go through import clearance.
2) Methods of Marking
ㅇCeramics subject to compulsory marking country of origin shall be marked with country of origin on articles themselves and packings. Provided, that the same shall not apply to mosaic decorative tiles less than 50㎠.
ㅇCountry of origin shall be marked in Chinese, in a way of processing or plasticity.
ㅇThe packings of ceramics shall contain the name of commodities, name of importer, main ingredients, quantity, date of manufacture, etc. as well as country of origin marking.
■ Exemption from Marking of Country of Origin
With respect to import commodities which are subject to compulsory marking of country of origin, if there are reasonable grounds for the non-compliance of marking of country of origin, such commodities may be exempt from marking country of origin by individual item with a confirmation and approval of Taiwan's Customs and the BOFT.
■ Other References
Under Taiwan's marking of country of origin system, all commodities for export, and specified commodities for import shall be marked with country of origin.
With respect to commodities subject to compulsory marking of country of origin, if such commodities fail to mark country of origin, or to comply with marking requirements, they are subjected to non-permission of clearance, complementation order, return, penalties, etc.
Even if complementary order for marking of country of origin from Customs is granted, relevant importer shall bear a burden caused by delayed clearance in terms of time and cost, which may give a big blow to such importer.