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The Issue of tobacco and alcohol administration

The Issue of tobacco and alcohol administration

In January 2002, the monopoly system was abolished by the government of the Republic of China, and the Taiwan Tobacco & Wine Monopoly Bureau was renamed the Taiwan Tobacco & Liquor Corporation.The monopoly system had made a huge contribution to the development of Taiwan; at the same time, the various products became a common memory for people ever living through that period.

There were two origins of Taiwan’s monopoly system. In 1915, the Ministry of Finance established the “National Tobacco & Wine Monopoly Bureau” in China; however, it was not popularized. In June, 1927, the National Government issued the “Temporary Law of Tobacco & Wine Monopoly”,which was the beginning of China’s monopoly system. During the war against Japan, the government started the monopoly of salt, sugar, cigarettes and matches to increase its revenue. However, because the monopoly system was not large enough, it couldn’t help to recover China's economy. In 1944, the monopoly of sugar was cancelled; later, the monopoly of salt, cigarettes and matches was also cancelled and replaced by tax collection.

After the first Sino-Japanese War of 1895, Taiwan was occupied by Japan, and Governor-general of Taiwan launched the monopoly system of opium, salt, camphor, tobacco, alcohol, beer, absolute alcohol, scales and weighing machines, matches, and petroleum. Except for the salt, alcohol and camphor, the privately owned entity was not permitted to produce any goods listed above.

After the restoration of Taiwan in 1945, the government launched the monopoly system of tobacco, wine, camphor, matches and scales and weighing machines. When the Taiwan Provincial Government was established in 1947, the Taiwan Tobacco & Wine Monopoly Bureau was also founded. At this point, the camphor company was under the Development Hall of Taiwan Provincial Government, and the matches were allowed to be run by the privately owned entity.
From then on, the “Monopoly Bureau” became a very important memory for the Taiwanese people. The Monopoly Bureau was in charge of the development, production, transportation, and inspection of tobacco. In 1961, the Monopoly Bureau produced 12.2 billion cigarettes, and 1.5 hundred million liter of alcohol with market value of NT. 3.7 billion.

Taiwan Beer, Red Label Rice Wine, Shaoxing Wine, Long Life Cigarettes, and New Paradise Cigarettes were all famous products of the Monopoly Bureau. The slogans on the packages were useful for researchers to understand the backgrounds of Taiwan’s different historical eras.

Starting from 1st January 2002, the date of Taiwan’s accession to the WTO, the monopoly system of tobacco and alcohol was abolished. The alcohol and tobacco production were opened to private investment from 2002 and 2004 respectively, to be in line with the trend of free trade. As the consumption of tobacco and alcohol products is relevant to human health, special regime for the administration of the two products is required. In order to enhance the safety of consumers and to facilitate the administration of tobacco and alcohol, the Tobacco and Alcohol Administration Act and related regulations were enacted.