Taiwan’s Fair Trade Act: Achieving the Right Balance Symposium on Competition Law and Policy in Developing Countries

Wu, Pijan, Thomas, Caroline | January 1, 2006

Adopting competition laws is part-and-parcel of a global trend. Indeed, it is striking to see how many countries first implemented competition laws within the last twenty-five years. In 2000, Frederic Jenny commented that “today between 80 and 100 countries have a competition law or are in the process of adopting one whereas ten years ago no more than 50 countries had such a law.” This compares to less than ten countries in 1960. Promulgated by a Presidential Order on February 4, 1991 and coming into force one year thereafter, Taiwan’s Fair Trade Act (“FTA”) must be interpreted in this context. Competition policy, however, is never pursued in isolation and the implementation of competition policies over the last twenty years tends to be part-and-parcel of deregulation and liberalization measures. Competition law is just one tool used by governments to try to achieve maximum sustainable growth in their economies. Anti-dumping, consumer protection, corporate governance, deregulation, industrial (i.e., promoting national industries), intellectual property (“IP”) liberalization, privatization, and trade policies are generally pursued simultaneously and may at times conflict or concur with the aims of competition policy. Consequently, most experts agree that there is no “one size fitsall” competition policy. Rather, each country must balance the various policies it uses so as to match its individual needs and review the policy recipe when circumstances change. In this article we seek to identify some of the successes and challenges related to the implementation of competition law in Taiwan. We will examine this topic in three parts: first, in Section II, we will explain the historical background to the FTA so as to reveal the aims of Taiwanese competition law; second, in Section III, we will explain how the law is structured and its intent; and third, in Section IV, we will look at the effectiveness of the FTA to date