The Study of Estonian Human Genes Database

I. Introduction

The human genes database or human genome project, the product under the policy of biotechnology no matter in a developed or developing country, has been paid more attention by a government and an ordinary people gradually. The construction of human genes database or human genome project, which is not only related to a country’s innovation on biotechnology, but also concerns the promotion of a country’s medical quality, the construction of medical care system, and the advantages brought by the usage of bio-information stored in human genes database or from human genome project. However, even though every country has a high interest in setting up human genes database or performing human genome project, the issues concerning the purposes of related biotechnology policies, the distribution of advantages and risks and the management of bio-information, since each country has different recognition upon human genes database or human genome project and has varied standards of protecting human basic rights, there would be a totally difference upon planning biotechnology policies or forming the related systems. Right now, the countries that vigorously discuss human genes database or practice human genome project include England, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Latvia and Estonia.

Estonia, which is the country around the Baltic Sea, has planned to set up its own human genes database in order to draw attention from other advanced countries, to attract intelligent international researchers or research groups, and to be in the lead in the area of biotechnology. To sum up, the purpose of constructing Estonian human genes database was to collect the genes and health information of nearly 70% Estonia’s population and to encourage bio-research and promote medical quality.

II. The Origin of Estonian Human Genes Database

The construction of Estonian human genes database started from Estonian Genome Project (EGP). This project was advocated by the professor of biotechnology Andres Metspalu at Tartu University in Estonia, and he proposed the idea of setting up Estonian human genes database in 1999. The purposes of EGP not only tried to make the economy of Estonia shift from low-cost manufacturing and heavy industry to an advanced technological economy, but also attempted to draw other countries’ attention and to increase the opportunity of making international bio-researches, and then promoted the development of biotechnology and assisted in building the system of medical care in Estonia.

EGP started from the agreement made between Estonian government and Eesti Geenikeskus (Estonian Genome Foundation) in March, 1999. Estonian Genome Foundation was a non-profit organization formed by Estonian scientists, doctors and politicians, and its original purposes were to support genes researches, assist in proceeding any project of biotechnology and to set up EGP. The original goals of constructing EGP were “(a) reaching a new level in health care, reduction of costs, and more effective health care, (b) improving knowledge of individuals, genotype-based risk assessment and preventive medicine, and helping the next generation, (c) increasing competitiveness of Estonia – developing infrastructure, investments into high-technology, well-paid jobs, and science intensive products and services, (d) [constructing] better management of health databases (phenotype/genotype database), (e) … [supporting]… economic development through improving gene technology that opens cooperation possibilities and creates synergy between different fields (e.g., gene technology, IT, agriculture, health care)”1.

III. The Way of Constructing Estonian Human Genes Database

In order to ensure that Estonian human genes database could be operated properly and reasonably in the perspectives of law, ethics and society in Estonia, the Estonian parliament followed the step of Iceland to enact “Human Genes Research Act” (HGRA) via a special legislative process to regulate its human genes database in 2000. HGRA not only authorizes the chief processor to manage Estonian human genes database, but also regulates the issues with regard to the procedure of donation, the maintenance and building of human genes database, the organization of making researches, the confidential identity of donator or patient, the discrimination of genes, and so on.

Since the construction of Estonian human genes database might bring the conflicts of different points of view upon the database in Estonia, in order to “avoid fragmentation of societal solidarity and ensure public acceptability and respectability”2 , HGRA adopted international standards regulating a genes research to be a norm of maintaining and building the database. Those standards include UNESCO Universal Declaration on the Human Genome and Human Rights (1997) and the Council of Europe’s Convention on Human Rights and Biomedicine (1997).

The purpose of enacting HGRA is mainly to encourage and promote genes researches in Estonia via building Estonian human genes database. By means of utilizing the bio-information stored in the database, it can generate “more exact and efficient drug development, new diagnostic tests, improved individualized treatment and determination of risks of the development of a disease in the future”3 . In order to achieve the above objectives, HGRA primarily puts emphasis on several aspects. Those aspects include providing stronger protection on confidential identity of donators or patients, caring for their privacy, ensuring their autonomy to make donations, and avoiding any possibility that discrimination may happen because of the disclosure of donators’ or patients’ genes information.


1.HERBERT GOTTWEIS & ALAN PETERSEN, BIOBANKS – GOVERNANCE IN COMPARATIVE PERSPECTIVE 59 (2008).
2.Andres Rannamae, Populations and Genetics – Legal and Socio-Ethical Perspectives, in Estonian Genome Porject – Large Scale Health Status Description and DNA Collection 18, 21 (Bartha Maria Knoppers et al. eds., 2003.
3.REMIGIUS N. NWABUEZE, BIOTECHNOLOGY AND THE CHALLENGE OF PROPERTY – PROPERTY RIGHTS IN DEAD BODIES, BODY PARTS, AND GENETIC INFORMATION, 163 (2007).

※The Study of Estonian Human Genes Database,STLI, https://stli.iii.org.tw/en/article-detail.aspx?no=105&tp=2&i=168&d=6099 (Date:2024/06/21)
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The direction of Finland’s national technology policy is to strengthen the ability and creativity of industries’ technology development, and its objects are, first, to develop the new horizons of knowledge with national innovation system, and to provide knowledge-oriented products and services; second, to promote the efficiency of the government R&D funds; third, to provide cross-country R&D research networks, and support the priorities of technology policy by strengthening bilateral or multilateral cooperation; fourth, to raise and to broaden the efficiency of research discovery; fifth, to promote the regional development by technology; sixth, to evaluate the performance of technology policy; seventh, to increase the influence of R&D on technological change, innovation and society; eighth, to make sure that technology fundamental structure, national quality policy and technology safety system will be up to international standards. (C) The Agency of Finland’s Technology Policy Management and Subsidy   As to the agency of Finland’s technology policy management and subsidy, it is composed of the Academy of Finland (AOF), the National Technology Agency (Tekes), and the Finnish National Fund Research and Development (SITRA). The fund of AOF comes from the Ministry of Education and Culture; the fund of Tekes comes from the Ministry of Employment and Economy, and the fund of SITRA comes from independent public fund supervised by the Finland’s Congress. (D) The Agency of Finland’s Technology Plan Execution   As to the agency of Finland’s technology plan execution, it mainly belongs to the universities under Ministries, polytechnics, national technology research institutions, and other related research institutions. 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Introduction to Tax Incentive Regime for SMEs

Introduction to Tax Incentive Regime for SMEs I. Introduction   The developments of SMEs (small-and-medium enterprises) plays an important pillar of development of industries and creation of jobs in Taiwan. In 2017, the total number of SMEs in Taiwan was 1,437,616. They offer 8,904,000 jobs, accounting for 78.44% of the workforce[1]. However, SMEs have difficulties in entering international supply chains because of their weakness in finance. Therefore, how to enhance the global competitiveness of SMEs is an important issue for the concerned authority. Chapter 4 of the Act for Development of Small and Medium Enterprises prescribes the tax incentive regime based on the financial capability of SMEs and characteristics of industries in order to facilitate the development of SMEs, especially the globalization of SMEs. This paper will review the importance of tax incentives to SMEs and introduces the tax incentive regime under the Act for Development of Small and Medium Enterprises In order to help SMES have an understanding of such regime. II. SME Tax Incentives Scheme   As the gatekeeper of the market, the government may intervene the market with various policies or tools to reallocate and improve the soundness of the market environment when the market competitions is impaired due to information asymmetry or externalities. At this juncture, preferential tax rates or tax deductions can be offered to specific taxpayers through legal institution. This allows these taxpayers to retain higher post-tax earnings so that they are incentified to invest more resources in the legally defined economic activities. Tax incentives targeting at risky or spillover investments to create benefits to specific economic activities will help the development of industries and markets.   Whilst Article 10 of the Statute for Industrial Innovation has provided tax cuts for R&D expenditures, these incentives are not focus on SMEs and hence not supportive to their research and innovations. This was the reason for the 2016 amendment of the Act for Development of Small and Medium Enterprises added Article 35 to offer tax incentives in order to encourage R&D and innovative efforts and Article 35-1 to activate intellectual properties via licensing. These articles aim to accelerate the momentum of innovations and transformations which promoting investments for SMEs. OthersTo assist SMEs to cope with change of the business environment, the Article 36-2 added the tax incentives for salary or headcount increases, to contribute to the sustainability of SMEs and stabilize the labour market and industrial structures. Following is an explanation of the applicability of these schemes and the requirements to qualify such incentives. III. Tax Incentives to Promote Investments (I) Tax deductions for R&D expenditures   Governments around the world seek to encourage corporate R&D activities, that Tax incentives are put in place to reduce R&D costs and foster a healthy environment of investment for more R&D initiatives. Neighboring countries such as Japan, Korea and Singapore are frequently practicing belowing tax burdens to encourage R&D efforts. Article 35 of the Act for Development of Small and Medium Enterprises in Taiwan allows accelerated depreciation and offers tax cuts[2] to stimulate R&D and innovations and create an investment friendly environment for SMEs. 1. Taxpaying Entities and Requirements (1) Qualifications for SMEs   Article 35 of the Act is applicable to qualified SMEs and individual taxpayers, which are (1) from manufacturing, construction & engineering, mining and quarrying industries, with paid-in capital below or equal to NT$80 million or with the number of full-time employees less than 200 people; (2) from other industries with the sales of the previous year below or equal to NT$100 million or with the number of full-time employees less than 100 people. Thus, the qualifications of Small and Medium Enterprises are based on either paid-in capital/sales or number of employees under the Act[3].Meanwhile, SMEs may not have an independent R&D department due to the limit of size or operating cost.Therefore, if the taxpayers hiring full-time R&D personnel that can provide records of job descriptions and work logs to R&D activities, the SMEs can access the tax incentives provided that the R&D functions. The recognized by government agencies is increasingly flexibility for SMEs seeking policy support. 2. Taxpayers and requirements (1) A certain degree of innovativeness   As the tax incentive regime strives to promote innovations, the R&D expenses should be used to fund innovative developments. According to the official letters from the Small and Medium Enterprise Administration, Ministry of Economic Affairs, there is no high bar as forward-looking, risky and innovative as usually” required for other incentives previously, which is considering the size of SMEs and their industry characteristics. The “certain degree” of innovativeness shall be based on industry environments and SME businesses as determined by competent authorities in a flexible manner. (2) Flexibility in the utilization of business income tax reductions   To encourage regular R&D activities, The case that SMEs may not have R&D undertakings each year due to funding constraints, or start-up company may have incurred R&D expenditures but are not yet profitable and hence have no tax liabilities during the year, Corporate taxpayers were able to choose beside deduct the payable taxes during a single year, and reduce the payable taxes during the current year over three years starting from the year when tax incentives are applicable. 3. Tax incentive effects   As previously mentioned, Article 35 of the Act for Development of Small and Medium Enterprises accommodates the characteristics of SMEs by allowing reductions of corporate business taxes for up to 15% R&D expenditures during the current year, or spreading the tax reductions by spreading up to 10% of the R&D expenditures over three years from the first year when the incentives are applicable. It is worth noting that the tax deductions shall not exceed 30% of the payable business income taxes during a single year.   If the instruments and equipment for R&D, experiments or quality inspections have a lifetime over two years or longer, it is possible to accelerate the depreciation within half of the years of service prescribed by the income tax codes for fixed assets. However, the final year less than 12 months over the shortened service years shall not be counted. Accelerated depreciation brings in tax benefits for fixed asset investments during the initial stage, that meets the requirements for new technologies and risk management by frontloading the equipment depreciation and creates a buffer for capital utilization. (II) Deferred taxations on licensing/capitalization of intellectual properties   The deferral of tax payments under the Act for Development of Small and Medium Enterprises is meant to avoid any adverse effect on the application of technological R&Ds by SMEs. As the equity stakes via capitalization of intellectual properties by inventors or creators are not cashed out yet and the subsequent gains may not be at the same valuation as determined at the time of capitalization, the immediate taxation may hinder the willingness to transfer intellectual properties. Therefore, assisting SMEs to release intellectual properties with potential economic value, the licensing and capitalization of intellectual properties is strongly encouraged. The tax expenses shall be deferred within SME or an individual acquires stakes on a non-publicly-listed company by transferring their intellectual properties.   This is to stimulate the applications and sharing of relevant manufacturing technologies. When an SME or an individual acquires stakes on a non-publicly-listed company by transferring their intellectual properties, their tax expenses shall be deferred. 1. Taxpayers and requirements (1) Qualifications for individuals or SMEs   Article 35-1 of the Act for Development of Small and Medium Enterprises is applicable to SMEs and individual taxpayers. This is to foster the growth of SMEs and enhancement of industry competitiveness by encouraging R&D and innovations from individuals and start-ups. To promote the commercialize of intellectual properties in different ways, the Act for Development of Small and Medium Enterprises provides income tax incentives to individuals and SMEs transferring intellectual properties. The purpose is to encourage different paths to industry upgrades. (2) Ownership of intellectual properties   To ensure that the proceeds of intellectual property is linked to the activity of intellectual properties which perform by individuals or SMEs. Only the owners of the intellectual properties capitalized and transferred can enjoy the tax benefits.   Intellectual properties referred to in the Act for Development of Small and Medium Enterprises are the properties with value created with human activities and hence conferred with legal rights. These include but are not limited to copyrights, patent rights, trademarks, trade secrets, integrated circuit layouts, plant variety rights and any other intellectual properties protected by laws[4]. (3) Acquisition of stock options   The abovementioned tax incentives are offered to the individuals or SMEs who transfer intellectual properties to non-listed companies in exchange of their new shares. The income taxes on the owners of intellectual properties are deferred until acquisition of shares. These shares are not registered with the book-entry system yet. Before the transferrers of intellectual properties dispose or offload these shares, immediate taxations will impose economic burdens and funding challenges given the unknown prices of the eventual cash-out. Therefore, this legislation is only applicable to taxpayers who obtain options for new shares. 2. Taxpayers and requirements (1) Transfer of intellectual properties   According to Article 36 of the Copyright Act as interpreted by official letters issued by the Ministry of Finance, the transfer of intellectual properties is the conferring of intellectual properties to others, and the transferees access these intellectual properties within the scope of the transfer. In terms “transfer” of the first and second paragraphs of Article 36 does not include licensing[5], but such as granting, licensing and inheritance. (2) Timing of income tax payments   In general, the particular time that calculation of taxes payable is based on when the taxpayers acquire the incomes, less relevant expenses or costs. The taxes payable timing should be depending on when the taxpayers obtain the newly issued shares by transferring intellectual properties. However, the levy of income taxes at the time of intellectual property transfers and new share acquisitions may cause a sudden jump in taxes payable in the progressive system and thus a burden on the economics of SMEs and individuals concerned. Thus, to avoid disruptions to company operations or personal finance planning, Article 36 makes the exception for the incomes earned by subscribing to new shares as a result of transferring intellectual properties. Such incomes are not subject to taxes during the year when the shares are acquired, in order to mitigate the tax barriers concerned.   In sum, the taxes shall be paid when such shares are transferred, gifted or distributed. 3. Tax incentive effects   Article 35-1 of the Act for Development of Small and Medium Enterprises provides tax incentives to stimulate the mobilization of intellectual properties by smoothing out the impact of income taxes payable. This is applicable to (1) SMEs who can postpone the business income taxes payable from the year when they acquire new shares of non-listed companies by transferring the intellectual properties they own; (2) individuals who can postpone the individual income taxes payable from the year when they acquire new shares of non-listed companies by transferring the intellectual properties they own. IV. Tax incentives aiming to improve the business environment (I) Tax reductions for wages to additional headcounts   SMEs are vital to the Taiwan, making uo 90% of the companies accounting in Taiwan, who employ more than 6.5 million people or 72.8% of the total workforce. Any economic recession may make it difficult for SMEs to maintain their labor costs given their smaller funding size and external challenges. This will cause higher unemployment rates and hurt the economy, which may cause impairment of the capacity or create a labor gap for SMEs, eventually shrink the industry scale. To lower the burden of operational and investment costs and learn from the legislatives in Japan and the U.S.[6], tax incentives are put in place as a buffer for adverse effects of external environments. The first paragraph of Article 36-2 of the Act for Development of Small and Medium Enterprises provide tax incentives for employee salaries of new headcounts based on the assessment on the economy over a time period. This is intended to encourage domestic investments and avoid the pitfall of direct government subsidies distorting salary structures. It is hoped that investments from SMEs can stimulate the momentum of economic growth. 1. Taxpayers   The tax incentives under Article 36-2 of the Act for Development of Small and Medium Enterprises aim to assist SMEs through difficult times in an economic downturn. The threshold of the period time is based on the unemployment rate has been below the economic indicator predetermined for six consecutive months, which calculated by the Directorate General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics, Executive Yuan. In number of the unemployment rate has been below the economic indicator predetermined for six consecutive months, it is deemed that the business environment is not friendly to SMEs. In this instance, the Regulations for the Tax Preferences Provided to Small and Medium-sized Enterprises on Additional Wage Payment will trigger the tax incentives. The abovementioned economic indicator shall be published by the competent authorities once every two years.   Moreover, to qualify for the tax incentives for new employees, SMEs should investing new ventures or instill new capital by at least $500,000[7] or hiring workforce at least two full-time headcounts compared with the previous fiscal year, that constitute at the Article 36-2 of the Act for Development of Small and Medium Enterprises, which aims to encourage SMEs investments. 2. Taxpayers (1) Qualifications of additional headcounts   As the dispatched human resource services typically meet temporary or short-term requirements and contractors do not enjoy employment security, this is not consistent with the spirit of the legislation to create jobs and reduce unemployment. Therefore, to avoid the one-time increase of headcounts from accessing the tax reductions during the year and the deterioration of labor relations in Taiwan. Tax incentive is not offered to the additional recruitment of part-time or contracted workers.   Meanwhile, the tax incentives are only applicable to the additional employment of Taiwanese nationals, above or below 24 years old. A tax deduction of 50% based on annual wages is provided for the hiring of people below 24 years old. The extra tax deduction will stimulate young employment. (2) Definition of additional employment   The number of additional headcounts is based on permanent hires and calculated as the difference between the average number of Taiwanese employees covered by labor insurance per month throughout a single fiscal year or before and after the incremental increase of workforce. The conversion of regular contracts to indefinite employment in writing or signing up for indefinite R&D headcounts under the military service scheme can also be deemed as additional employment. It is worth noting, however, the new headcounts resulted from M&A activities or transfer between affiliated companies are excluded in this legislation. (3) Calculation of wages   Companies are also required to increase employment as well as the Comparable Wages. The comparable wages are estimated with the summation of 30% of the wages for the year before and after additional employment that based on the aggregate of the new hires comparable wages compared to the prior year. In other words, if the aggregate wages paid out are higher than comparable wages during the year, the companies concerned have indeed incurred higher personnel expenses. Tax incentives are thus granted because it improves the business environment and it is the purpose of this legislation. 3. Tax incentive effects   The first paragraph of Article 36-2 of the Act for Development of Small and Medium Enterprises provides deductions of business income taxes during the year to qualified SMEs at an amount equivalent to 130% of the incremental wages paid to new headcounts who are Taiwanese nationals. The deductible amount is equivalent to 150% of the incremental wages if new headcounts are Taiwanese nationals below 24 years old. (II) Tax incentives for companies that increase salaries   Companies are subject to the effect of changes in the external factors such as global supply and demand on the international market, as well as the domestic business environment as a result of risk aversion from investors and expectation from customers. These uncertainties associated with investments and the rising prices for consumers will suppress the wage levels in Taiwan. This the reason why the second paragraph of Article 36-2 of the Act for Development of Small and Medium Enterprises grants tax deductions for the companies who increase salaries, to encourage companies share earnings with employees and enhance private-sector consumption. SMEs may deduct their business income taxes payable during the year up to 30% of salary increase for existing entry-level employees who are Taiwanese nationals, not as a result of statutory requirement for basic wage adjustments. 1. Taxpayers   The tax incentives are applicable to SMEs as defined by the Regulations for the Tax Preferences Provided to Small and Medium-sized Enterprises on Additional Wage Payment and based on the same economic indicators previously mentioned. 2. Qualification for tax incentives (1) Definition of entry-level employees   The object of taxation under this act is the enterprise's average wage payment to the entry-level employees. The entry-level employees referred to in this act are authorized by the "Small and medium-sized enterprise employee salary increase, salary deduction act " that refers to employees of local nationality with an average monthly recurring salary below nt $50,000[8] whose were entered into indefinite employment contracts with SMEs. Through such conditions, the effect of tax concessions will be concentrated on promoting the salary level of grassroots staff and helping enterprises to cope with changes in the industrial environment. (2) Average salaries   The salaries to entry-level employees refer to the basic salaries, fixed allowances and bonuses paid on a monthly basis. Payment-in-kind shall be discounted based on the actual prices and included into the regular salaries. Meanwhile, regular salaries should be calculated with annualized averages, as this legislation seeks to boost salary levels. The regular salaries to entry-level employees during the year are estimated with the monthly number of entry-level employees during the same year. Only when the average basis salaries during the year are higher than those in the prior year can the tax incentives be applicable. 3. Tax incentive effects   Applying this article, SMEs can deduct their business income taxes each year up to 130% of salary increase for existing entry-level employees who are Taiwanese nationals, which are not as a result of statutory requirement for basic wage adjustments. However, it is not allowed to double count the increased personnel expenses for new headcounts applicable to the first and second paragraphs of the same article. V. Conclusions   The funding scales and relatively weak financial structures are the factors that led SMEs be susceptible influenced by supply change dynamics and business cycles. To the extent that is suppressing the flexible in capital utilization for SMEs, also influencing on the sustainability of SMEs. Differ from government subsidies require budgeting, reviewing and implementations, there are complications regarding the allocation of administrative resources. Therefore, it is important to plan for tax incentives in order to stimulate R&D, innovation and job creation by SMEs and ultimately make SMEs more competitive.   The tax incentives to SMEs amended in 2016 by the Small and Medium Enterprise Administration are known for the following: (I) The lowering of thresholds for tax reductions of R&D expenses in order to encourage SMEs to invest in R&D activities with a “certain degree” of innovativeness and enhance the momentum for SMEs to upgrade and transform themselves; (II) Deferral the income taxations on the transfer of intellectual properties for equity, in order to encourage application and utilization of such intellectual properties, provide incentives for R&D programs or innovations by individuals and SMEs. This also creates a catalyst for industry upgrade; (III) Tax deductions for the employment of new headcounts or the increase of employee wages during the time the economic indicators have reached a certain threshold and based on the health of the investment environment. This is to encourage company investments and capital increases in Taiwan and mitigate the volatility of economic cycles, in order to get ready for business improvement.   The above tax incentive programs, i.e. tax deductions for R&D and innovations; deferral of taxations on the transfer of intellectual properties for equity; tax deductions for the hiring of new headcounts and the increase of employee salaries, are meant to boost the investment from SMEs and the competitiveness of SMEs. The Act for Development of Small and Medium Enterprises seeks to reduce tax burdens of SMEs actively investing for their future and competitive advantages. Tax incentives help to mitigate the adverse effect of the economy on the business environment. It is also the fostering of the sources of business income tax revenues for the government. This is the very purpose of the Act for Development of Small and Medium Enterprises. [1]White Paper on Small and Medium Enterprises in Taiwan, 2018, p21 (November 9, 2018) published by the Ministry of Economic Affairs [2]Pursuant to the authorization conferred by Article 35 of the Act for Development of Small and Medium Enterprises, the Ministry of Economic Affairs has announced the Regulations Governing the Reduction of Expenditures for Small and Medium Enterprises Research and Development as Investment. [3]Article 2 on the definition of SMEs. The abovementioned criterion is universally applicable to the Act for Development of Small and Medium Enterprises. It also applies to the eligibility of tax incentives to be introduced in this paper unless otherwise specified. [4]Official Letter Economic-Business No. 10304605790, Ministry of Economic Affairs [5]Official Letter Taiwan-Finance No. 10300207480, Ministry of Finance [6]“Assessment of the Taxations under Article 35, Article 35-1, the first paragraph and the second paragraph of Article 36-2, the Act for Development of Small and Medium Enterprises” published by the Small and Medium Enterprise Administration, Ministry of Economic Affairs, pages 15-17, https://www.moeasmea.gov.tw/files/2670/93B9AF54-84E2-4293-A5CA-EA7DD9FAA05A(most recently browsed date September 9, 2019). [7]Order of Interpretation Economics-Business No. 104004602510 from the Ministry of Economic Affairs: “Second, on the day when the economic indicator has reached the threshold, the paid-in capital of the new business should be at least NT$500,000 and there is no need to instill additional capital during the period when tax incentives are applicable. For existing businesses, there is no limitation on the number of capital increases during the applicable period. So long as the cumulative increase in capital reaches NT$500,000 and new employees are hired during the same fiscal year or during the prior fiscal year.” [8]Paragraph 1, Article 2 of the Regulations for the Tax Preferences Provided to Small and Medium-sized Enterprises on Additional Wage Payment

Research on Taiwan’s Policies of Innovative Industry Development in Recent Years (2015-2016)

Research on Taiwan’s Policies of Innovative Industry Development in Recent Years (2015-2016) 1. “Five plus Two” Innovative Industries Policy   On June 15, 2016, Premier Lin Chuan met with a group of prominent business leaders to talk about a government project on five innovative industries, which aim to drive the next generation of businesses in R.O.C.. Subsequently the program was expanded to include “new agriculture” and the “circular economy” as the “+2.” The program was then broadened even further to include the Digital Economy and Cultural Innovation, with even Semiconductors and IC Design included, although the name of the policy remains 5+2. Speaking at the Third Wednesday Club in Taipei, Premier Lin said the industries require more investment to drive the next generation of industry growth momentum in R.O.C., create high-quality jobs, and upgrade the industrial competitiveness. Executive Yuan has selected the five innovative industries of Asia Silicon Valley, smart machinery, green energy, biotech & pharmaceutical industry, and national defense, which will be the core for pushing forward the next-generation industrial growth and improve overall environment by creating a cluster effect that links local and global industries, while simultaneously raising wages and stimulating employment.   Premier Lin said, regarding industrial competitiveness and investment issues the lackluster economy has stifled investment opportunities, and with limited government budgets, the private sector must play the larger role in investments. Regarding the “Five major Innovative Industries” project, Premier Lin said the National Development Council is currently drafting long-term plan to attract talent, create a thriving working environment, and infuse companies with more innovation, entrepreneurship and young workers. In addition, R.O.C. must also cultivate a strong software industry, without which it would be difficult to build a highly intelligent infrastructure.   The National Development Council said the program possess both the capacity of domestic demand and local characteristics, as the core for pushing forward the next-generation industrial growth. The government aims to promote a seamless synergy of investment, technology, and the talent, in order to develop innovative industrial clusters for furthering global linkage and nurturing international enterprises. In the meantime, the government also aims at achieving the enhancement of technology levels, balanced regional development, as well as realizing the benefits of job creation. 2. The Asia Silicon Valley Development Plan   In September 2016 the government approved the Asia Silicon Valley Development Plan, which connect Taiwan to global tech clusters and create new industries for the next generation. By harnessing advanced technological research and development results from around the world, the plan hopes to promote innovation and R&D for devices and applications of the internet of things (IoT), and upgrade Taiwan’s startup and entrepreneurship ecosystem.   The four implementation strategies are as follows:   (1) Building a comprehensive ecosystem to support innovation and entrepreneurship   (2) Connect with international research and development capabilities   (3) Create an IoT value chain   (4) Construct diversified test beds for smart products and services by establishing a quality internet environment   Taiwan’s first wave of industrial development was driven by continuous technological innovation, and the wave that followed saw the information industry become a major source of economic growth. 3. Global Hub for Smart Machinery   On July 21, 2016, Premier Lin Chuan said at a Cabinet meeting, the government aims to forge Taiwan into a global manufacturing hub for intelligent machinery and high-end equipment parts. Upgrading from precision machinery to intelligent machinery is the main goal of putting intelligent machinery industry into focal execution area expecting to create jobs and to maximize the production of production line as well as to forge central Taiwan into a global manufacturing hub for smart machinery. The Ministry of Economic draws up the Intelligent Machinery Promotion Program to establish the applications of the technology and capacity of services that fit the demand of the market. The program embodies two parts. The first is to accelerate the industrialization of intelligent machinery for building an ecosystem. The second is to improve intelligentization by means of introducing the intelligent machinery into the industries.   The execution policy of the Intelligent Machinery Promotion Program is to integrate the intelligent functions such as malfunctions predictions, accuracy compensation, and automatic parameter setting into the machinery industry so as to have the ability to render the whole solutions to the problem. Simultaneously, the program employs three strategies, which are connecting with the local industries, connecting with the future, and connecting with the world, to develop the mentioned vision and objectives. Especially, the way to execute the strategy of connecting with the local industries consists of integrating the capabilities of industry, research organization and the government. At the meantime, the government will encourage the applications of smart vehicles and unmanned aerial vehicles and train the talents as well. The thinking of connecting with the future lies in the goal of deepening the technologies, establishing systematic solutions, and providing a testing areas, which focus on the related applications such as aerospace, advanced semiconductor, smart transportation, green vehicles, energy industry, whole solutions between factories, intelligent man-machine coordination, and robots of machine vision combined with intelligent machinery applications. The government would strengthen the cross-cutting cooperation to develop machines for aerospace and integrate the system of industrial division to form a cluster in order to create Taiwanese IoT technology. Eventually, Taiwan will be able to connect with the world, enhance international cooperation, expand export trade and push industry moving toward the age of information and digital economy and break the edge of industry technology to make the industry feel the goodwill of the government. 4. Green energy innovations   The government’s “five plus two” innovative industries program includes a green energy industrial innovation plan passed October 27, 2016 that will focus on Taiwan’s green needs, spur extensive investments from within and outside the country, and increase quality employment opportunities while supporting the growth of green energy technologies and businesses.   The government is developing the Shalun Green Energy Science City. The hub’s core in Shalun will house a green energy technology research center as well as a demo site, providing facilities to develop research and development (R&D) capabilities and conduct the requisite certification and demonstration procedures. The joint research center for green energy technologies will integrate the efforts of domestic academic institutions, research institutes, state-run enterprises and industry to develop green energy technologies, focusing on four major functions: creating, conserving and storing energy, as well as system integration. Development strategies include systems integration and finding better ways to conserve, generate and store energy by promoting green energy infrastructure, expanding renewable energy capabilities and cooperating with large international firms.   The emergence of the green economy has prompted the government to build infrastructure that will lay the foundation for Taiwan’s green energy sector, transform the nation into a nuclear-free society, and spur industrial innovation. For innovative technology industries, green energy industries can drive domestic economic development by attracting more venture capital and creating more employment opportunities. 5. Biomedical Industry Innovation Program   To facilitate development of Taiwan’s biomedical industry, the government proposed a “biomedical industrial innovation promotion program” on November 10, 2016 to serve as the nation’s new blueprint for innovative biomedical research and development (R&D). To facilitate development of the biomedical industry, the government proposed a “biomedical industrial innovation promotion program”. The program centered on the theme of “local, global and future links,” “the biomedical industrial innovation promotion program” includes four action plans:   (1) Build a comprehensive ecosystem   To address a rapidly ageing global population, Taiwan will enhance the biomedical industry’s capacity for innovation by focusing on talent, capital, topic selection, intellectual property, laws and regulations, and resources.   (2) Integrate innovative business clusters   Established by the Ministry of Science and Technology and based in Hsinchu Biomedical Science Park, the center will serve as a government think tank on related issues. It is also tasked with initiating and advancing exchanges among local and foreign experts, overseeing project implementation, promoting investment and recruiting talents. Equally important, it will play a central role in integrating resources from other biomedical industry clusters around the country, including Nangang Software Park in Taipei City, Central Taiwan Science Park in Taichung City and Southern Science Park in Tainan City.   (3) Connect global market resources   Building on Taiwan’s advantages, promote M&A and strategic alliances, and employ buyout funds and syndicated loans to purchase high-potential small and medium-sized international pharmaceutical companies, medical supply companies, distributors and service providers. Use modern mosquito-borne disease control strategies as the foundation of diplomatic cooperation, and promote the development of Taiwan’s public health care and medical services in Southeast Asian countries.   (4) Promote specialized key industries   Promote niche precision medical services, foster clusters of world-class specialty clinics, and develop industries in the health and wellness sectors. 6. DIGITAL NATION AND INNOVATIVE ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT PLAN    On November 24, 2016, the Executive Yuan promote the Digital Nation and Innovative Economic Development Plan (2017-2025) (DIGI+ program), the plan’s main goals for 2025 are to grow R.O.C.’s digital economy to NT $ 6.5 trillion (US$205.9 billion), increase the digital lifestyle services penetration rate to 80 percent, speed up broadband connections to 2 Gbps, ensure citizens’ basic rights to have 25 Mbps broadband access, and put R.O.C. among the top 10 information technology nations worldwide.    In addition to the industrial economy, the program can jump off bottlenecks in the past industrial development, and promote the current Internet of things, intelligent machinery, green energy, medical care and other key national industries, but also attaches great importance to strengthening the digital infrastructure construction, the development of equal active, as well as the creation of a service-oriented digital government. It is also hoped that through the construction of a sustainable and intelligent urban and rural area, the quality of life will be improved and the people will enjoy a wealthy and healthy life. Over the next 8 years, the government will spend more than NT $ 150 billion.   The plan contains several important development strategies: DIGI+Infrastructure: Build infrastructure conducive to digital innovation. DIGI+Talent: Cultivate digital innovation talent. DIGI+Industry: Support cross-industry transformation through digital innovation. DIGI+Rights: Make R.O.C. an advanced society that respects digital rights and supports open online communities. DIGI+Cities: Build smart cities through cooperation among central and local governments and the industrial, academic and research sectors. DIGI+Globalization: Boost R.O.C.’s standing in the global digital service economy.   The program aims to build a favorable environment for digital innovation and to create a friendly legal environment to complete the draft amendments to the Digital Communications Law and the Telecommunications Act as soon as possible, foster cross-domain digital talents and develop advanced digital technologies, To create a digital economy, digital government, network society, smart urban and rural and other national innovation ecological environment in order to achieve "the development of active network society, promote high value innovation economy, open up rich countries of the policy vision.    In order to achieve the overall effectiveness of the DIGI + program, interdisciplinary, inter-ministerial, inter-departmental and inter-departmental efforts will be required to collaborate with the newly launched Digital National Innovation Economy (DIGI +) Promotion Team. 7. “NEW AGRICULTURE” PROMOTION PROJECT    At a Cabinet meeting On December 08, 2016, Premier Lin Chuan underscored the importance of a new agricultural paradigm for Taiwan’s economic development, adding that new agriculture is an integral part of the “five plus two” industrial innovation projects proposed by President Tsai Ing-wen. The “new agriculture” promotion project uses innovation technology to bring value to agricultural, and build new agricultural paradigm, agricultural safety systems and promote agricultural marketing. This project also takes resources recycling and environmental sustainability into consideration to promote agricultural transformation, and build a robust new agricultural system.   This agricultural project is expected to increase food self-sufficiency rate to 40%, level up agricultural industry value by NT$43.4 billion, create 370,000 jobs and increase portion of total agricultural exports to new overseas markets to 57% by 2020.   This project contains three aspects:   First is “building new agricultural paradigm”: to protect farmers, agricultural development and ensure sustainability of the environment.   Second is “building agricultural safety systems”: Ensuring product safety and quality, and building a certification system which can be trust by the consumers and is consistent with international standards.   Last but not least is “leveling up agricultural marketing and promotions”: enhancing promotion, making the agricultural industry become profitable and sustainable.   Council of Agriculture’s initiatives also proposed 10 policies to leverage agricultural industry, not only just use the passive subsidies measure of the past. These policies including promoting environmentally friendly farming practices; giving farmers that are beneficial(green) to the land payments; stabilizing farmers’ incomes; increasing the competitiveness of the livestock and poultry industries; using agricultural resources sustainably; ensuring the safety of agricultural products; developing technological innovation; leveling up food security; increasing diversification of domestic and external marketing channels; and increasing agriculture industry added value.    In this statutes report, Council of Agriculture said this project will accelerate reforms, create new agricultural models and safety systems, but also build a new sustainable paradigm of agricultural. Premier Lin Chuan also backed this “five plus two innovative industries” program and “new agriculture” project, and asked Council of Agriculture to reviewing the possible legal changes or amendment that may help to enhance the transformation of agricultural sector.

Review of Taiwan's Existing Regulations on the Access to Bioloical Resources

The activities of accessing to Taiwan's biological resources can be governed within certain extent described as follows. 1 、 Certain Biological Resources Controlled by Regulations Taiwan's existing regulation empowers the government to control the access to biological resources within certain areas or specific species. The National Park Law, the Forestry Act, and the Cultural Heritage Preservation Act indicate that the management authority can control the access of animals and plants inside the National Park, the National Park Control Area, the recreational area, the historical monuments, special scenic area, or ecological protection area; forbid the logging of plants and resources within the necessary control area for logging and preserved forestry, or control the biological resources inside the natural preserved area. In terms of the scope of controlled resources, according to the guidance of the Wildlife Conservation Act and the Cultural Heritage Preservation Act, governmental management authority is entitled to forbid the public to access the general and protected wild animals and the plant and biological resources that are classified as natural monuments. To analyse the regulation from another viewpoint, any access to resources in areas and of species other than the listed, such as wild plants or microorganism, is not regulated. Therefore, in terms of scope, Taiwan's management of the access to biological resources has not covered the whole scope. 2 、 Access Permit and Entrance Permit Taiwan's current management of biological resources adopts two kinds of schemes: access permit scheme and entrance permit in specific areas. The permit allows management authority to have the power to grant and reject the collection, hunting, or other activities to access resources by people. This scheme is similar to the international standard. The current management system for the access to biological resources promoted by many countries and international organizations does not usually cover the guidance of entrance in specific areas. This is resulting from that the scope of the regulation about access applies for the whole nation. However, since Taiwan has not developed regulations specifically for the access of bio-research resources, the import/export regulations in the existing Wildlife Conservation Act, National Park Law, Forestry Act, and Cultural Heritage Preservation Act may provide certain help if these regulations be properly connected with the principle of access and benefit sharing model, so that they will help to urge people to share the research interests. 3 、 Special Treatments for Academic Research Purpose and Aborigines Comparing to the access for the purpose of business operation, Taiwan's regulations favour the research and development that contains collection and hunting for the purpose of academic researches. The regulation gives permits to the access to biological resources for the activities with nature of academic researches. For instance, the Wildlife Conservation Act, National Park Law, and theCultural Heritage Preservation Act allow the access of regulated biological resources, if the academic research unit obtains the permit, or simply inform the management authority. In addition, the access by the aborigines is also protected by the Forestry Act, Cultural Heritage Preservation Act, and the Aboriginal Basic Act. The aborigines have the right to freely access to biological resources such as plants, animals and fungi. 4 、 The Application of Prior Informed Consent (PIC) In topics of the access to and benefit sharing of biological resources, the PIC between parties of interests has been the focus of international regulation. Similarly, when Taiwan was establishing theAboriginal Basic Act, this regulation was included to protect the aborigines' rights to be consulted, to agree, to participate and to share the interests. This conforms to the objective of access and benefit sharing system. 5 、 To Research and Propose the Draft of Genetic Resources Act The existing Wildlife Conservation Act, National Park Law, Forestry Act,Cultural Heritage Preservation Act, Aboriginal Basic Act provide the regulation guidance to the management of the access to biological resources within certain scope. Comparing to the international system of access and benefit sharing, Taiwan's regulation covers only part of the international guidance. For instance, Taiwan has no regulation for the management of wild plants and micro-organism, so there is no regulation to confine the access to wild plants and microorganism. To enlarge the scope of management in terms of the access to Taiwan's biological resources, the government authority has authorize the related scholars to prepare the draft of Genetic Resources Act. The aim of the Genetic Resources Act is to establish the guidance of the access of genetic resources and the sharing of interests in order to preserve the genetic resources. The draft regulates that the bio-prospecting activity should be classified into business and academic, with the premise of not interfering the traditional usages. After classification, application of the permit should be conducted via either general or express process. During the permit application, the prospector, the management authority, and the owner of the prospected land should conclude an agreement jointly. In the event that the prospector wishes to apply for intellectual property rights, the prospector should disclose the origin of the genetic resources and provide the legally effective documents of obtaining these resources. In addition, a Biodiversity Fund should be established to manage the profits derived from genetic resources. The import/export of genetic resources should also be regulated. Violators should be fined.

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