The Status of Taiwan's Regulations Concerning with Access to Biological Resources

Preface

In actual practice, the research and development of biotech medicine, food, and environmental products cannot be done by in-lab researches. This is a unique character of the biotechnology industry. To get the research going, the researchers need to search for and exploit new biological materials and, samples outside the lab. Therefore, the access to and management of biological resources have significant impact on the stimulation and development of national biotech industry.

Ever since the enforcement of Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in 1992 by 172 countries, a general principal about conserving biological diversity and using biological resources has been set. According to CBD, States have sovereign rights over their own biological resources. CBD also encourages each State to access to and manage the biological resources conformed with the principals of conservation, sustainability, NOEL environment friendly, and adequate sharing of benefit arising from biological resources. Therefore, issues such as environmental protection and sustainability have become political issues internationally.

If the ABS system for the access to biological resources is designed too strictly, the establishment of the system will make the research and development staffs and related institutions hang back with hesitation both domestically and internationally. Their intention of bioprospecting in the designated country will then be reduced. On the other hand, if the system is designed too loosely, it will not be able to protect the rights of the owner of the resources. As a result, currently, every country holds a cautious attitude in setting up the regulations of managing the access to biological resources.

Currently, many countries and regional international organizations already set up ABS system, such as Andean Community, African Union, Association of Southeast Asia Nations (ASEAN), Australia, South Africa, and India, all are enthusiastic with the establishment of the regulations regarding the access management of biological resources and genetic resources. On the other hand, there are still many countries only use traditional and existing conservation-related regulations to manage the access of biological resources. Since it has been more than 10 years that the regulation of access to biological resources and benefit sharing has been developed in some countries, how is Taiwan's current situation regarding this issue?

Taiwan's Existing Regulations on the Access to Bioloical Resources

In terms of regulations, Taiwan's existing management style of the access to biological resources is similar to that of the US and the EU. It refers to the existing regulations on environmental protection and conservation, and evaluates from the perspective of environmental protection to control and manage the exploitation and application of the related biological resources. These regulations include the Wildlife Conservation Act, theNational Park Law, the Forestry Act, the Cultural Heritage Preservation Act, and the Aboriginal Basic Act. The paragraphs below describe the contents of the acts mentioned that are related to the access to biological resources.

1 、 Wildlife Conservation Act

According to the Wildlife Conservation Act, the Protected Species and the products made of cannot be hunted, traded, owned, imported, exported, raised, bred, and processed unless the number of protected wildlife has exceeded the amount the environment permits, or carry the objectives of academic research and education with the permits of central or regional authorities. As for the hunting of General Wildlife, pre-application and approval is needed with the exception of projects based on the objectives of academic research or education.

In addition, the import and export of the living wildlife and the products of Protected Wildlife are restricted to the condition of being permitted by management authority. With respect to the import and export of living Protected Wildlife, Academic research institutions and colleagues are the only person who can seek for the approval of management authority before they proceed.

2 、 National Park Law

The design and management of Taiwan's national parks are based on the regulations listed in the National Park Law with the purpose of protecting our country's exclusive natural scenery, wildlife and historical spots. Based on the properties and the nature of resources, the national park management structures the preserved area into general control area, playground and resting area, spot of historical interest, special landmark area, and ecological protection area. Ecological protection area refers to the areas where the natural surroundings, creatures, the society they live and propagate are strictly protected only for the research of ecology.

According to the regulation of National Park Law, inside the national park area, it is prohibited to hunt animals, fish, take off flowers or trees, not to mention the behaviours that are prohibited by the management authority. Exceptions are made based on the conditions of preserved areas and for the research purposes. In the general control area or resting area, the national park authority allows fishing or other activities agreed by the authority. However, these activities are prohibited in the preserved area of historical interest, special landmark area, and ecological protection area. To suit special purposes, in the special landmark area or ecological protection area, collection of specimens is allowed subject to the approval of authority. Under the purpose of academic research, better management of public safety, and special management of national park, the Ministry of the Interior will permit the collection of specimen. However, to enter the ecological protection area, one must obtain the permission of authority.

3 、 Forestry Act

To protect the forest resources and to maximize the public welfare and economic effectiveness, some of the properties are classified as forestry land and being managed by authority. Based on the Forestry Act, management authority has to restrict the area of cutting timber and to identify the area or period of restricted digging of greensward, tree roots, and grass roots, based on the condition of the forest. In addition, to maintain the current ecological environment in the forest, and to preserve the diversity of species, identification of natural preserved area is needed inside the forestland. The entrance and exit of human and vehicles are controlled based on the nature of the resources inside the preserve area. Unless obtaining the approval from the management authority, not a single activity of damaging, logging or digging soil, stones, greensward and roots is allowed.

Furthermore, any unauthorized activity of collecting specimen inside the forest recreation area and natural reserve will be fined. Collecting flowers and plants in these areas, or trespassing the natural reserve will also be fined. Only the activities taken by the aborigines to sustain their living or accommodate their customs are not restricted.

4 、 Cultural Heritage Preservation Act

The objectives of setting up the Cultural Heritage Preservation Act are to preserve and apply the cultural resources, to enrich the spiritual lives of citizens, and to add glory to the existing diverse cultures. The Cultural Heritage Preservation Act classifies the natural landscape and scenery as cultural assets. Vistas of Natural Culture refer to the natural areas, landforms, plants and mineral which contain the values of preservation. It can be further grouped into natural preserved area and natural monuments. Since the natural monuments include the unusual plants and mineral, it is connected to the management of biological resources.

According to the Cultural Heritage Preservation Act, unless approved by the management authority, it is prohibited to collect, log, destroy the plants or bio resources classified as natural monuments or trespass into the area of natural preserve. For the purposes of academic research, or for the memorial ceremony of aboriginal custom, research institute and the aborigines can collect the natural monuments without the approval of authority.

5 、 Aboriginal Basic Act

To protect the basic rights of the aborigines, and to sustain and develop the aboriginal society, the Aboriginal Basic Act was designed and enacted. The government not only admits the aborigine's rights in lands and natural resources, but also permits the non-profit behaviour such as hunting of wildlife, colleting of wild plants and fungi for the objective of complying with traditional culture, ceremony or private uses.

In addition, the Aboriginal Basic Act provides the requirement of Prior Informed Consent (PIC) to require government or private individual to inform the aborigines before they proceed with land development, resource exploitation, ecological preservation, and academic research in the land where the aborigines live. They need to consult and obtain the aborigines' agreement or participation, and to share the related interests derived from this project. In the case of restricting the aborigine's right of the use of land or natural resources by law, the government,shall consult with the aborigines or the tribe and reach the agreement.

When the government wish to design and establish national park, national scenic area, forestry area, ecological protection area, recreational area, or other resource management authorities, the government should obtain the agreement from the local aborigines and to build up the co-management mechanism.

※The Status of Taiwan's Regulations Concerning with Access to Biological Resources,STLI, https://stli.iii.org.tw/en/article-detail.aspx?no=105&tp=2&i=168&d=6139 (Date:2021/02/26)
Quote this paper
You may be interested
Introducing and analyzing the Scope and Benefits of the Regulation「Statute for Upgrading Industries」in The Biotechnology Industry in Taiwan

The recent important regulation for supporting the biopharmaceutical industry in Taiwan has been the 「Statute for Upgrading Industries」 (hereinafter referred to as 「the Statute」).The main purpose of the Statue is for upgrading all industry for future economic development, so it applies to various industries, ranging from agriculture, industrial and service businesses. In other words, the Statute does not offer incentive measures to biopharmaceutical industry in particular, but focuses on promoting the industry development in general. Statute for Upgrading Industry and Related Regulations Generally speaking, the Statute has a widespread influence on industry development in Taiwan. The incentive measures provided in the Statute is complicated and covered other related regulations under its legal framework. Thus, the article will be taking a multi-facet perspective in discussing the how Statute relates to the biopharmaceutical industry. 1 、 Scope of Application According to Article 1 of the Statute, the term 「industries」 refers to agricultural, industrial and service businesses. Consequently, nearly all kinds of industries fall under this definition, and the Statute is applicable to all of them. Moreover, in order to promote the development and application of emerging technology as well as cultivating the recognized industry, the Statute provides much more favorable terms to these industries. These emerging and major strategic industries includes computer, communication and consumer electronics (3C), precise mechanics and automation, aerospace, biomedical and chemical production, green technology, material science, nanotechnology, security and other product or service recognized by the Executive Yuan. 2 、 Tax Benefits The Statute offers several types of tax benefits, so the industry could receive sufficient reward in every way it could, and promote a sound cycle in creating new values through these benefits. (1) Benefits for the purchase of automation equipment The said procured equipment and technology over NTD600, 000 may credit a certain percentage of the investment against the amount of profit-seeking enterprise income tax payable for the then current year. For the purchase of production technology, 5% may be credited. For the purchase of equipment, 7% may be credited. And any investment plan that includes the purchasing of equipment for automation can qualify for a low-interest preferential loan. Besides, for science-based industrial company imported overseas equipment that is not manufacture by local manufactures, from January 1, 2002, the imported equipment shall be exempted from import and business tax. And if the company is a bonded factory, the raw materials to be imported from abroad by it shall also be exempt from import duties and business tax. (2) Benefits for R&D expenditure Expenditure concurred for developing new products, improving production technology, or improving label-providing technology may credit 30%of the investment against the amount of profit-seeking enterprise income tax payable for the then current year. Research expenditures of the current year exceeding the average research expenditure for the past two years, the excess in research expenditure shall be 50% deductible. Instruments and equipments purchased by for exclusive R&D purpose, experimentation, or quality inspection may be accelerated to two years. At last, Biotech and New Pharmaceuticals Company engages in R&D activities, such as Contract research Organization (CRO), may credit 30% of the investment against the amount of profit-seeking enterprise income tax payable. (3) Personnel Training When a company trained staff and registered for business-related course, may credit 30% of the training cost against the amount of profit-seeking enterprise income tax payable for the then current year. Where training expenses for the current year exceeds the two-year average, 50% of the excess portion may be credited. (4) Benefit for Newly Emerging Strategic Industries Corporate shareholders invest in newly emerging strategic industries are entitled to select one of the following tax benefits: A profit seeking enterprise may credit up to 20% of the price paid for acquisition of such stock against the profit seeking enterprise income tax. An individual may credit up to 10%. As of January and once every year, there will be a 1% reduction of the price paid for acquisition of such stock against the consolidated income tax payable in the then current year. A company, within two years from the beginning date for payment of the stock price by its shareholders, selects, with the approval of its shareholder meeting, the application of an exemption from profit-seeking enterprise income tax and waives the shareholders investment credit against payable income tax as mentioned above. However, that once the selection is made, no changes shall be allowed. (5) Benefits for Investment in Equipment or Technology Used for Pollution Control To prevent our environment from further pollution, the Government offers tax benefits to reward companies in making improvements. Investment in equipment or technology used for pollution control may credit 7% of the equipment expenditure, and 5% of the expenditure on technology against the amount of profit-seeking enterprise income tax payable for the then current year. For any equipment that has been verified in use and specialized in air pollution control, noise pollution control, vibration control, water pollution control, environmental surveillance and waste disposal, shall be exempt from import duties and business tax. And for investment plans that planned implementation of energy saving systems can apply for a low interest loan. (6) Incentive for Operation Headquarter To encourage companies to utilize worldwide resources and set up international operation network, if they established operation headquarters within the territory of the Republic of China reaching a specific size and bringing about significant economic benefit, their following incomes shall be exempted from profit-seeking enterprise income tax: The income derived from provision of management services or R&D services. The royalty payment received under its investments to its affiliates abroad. The investment return and asset disposal received under its investment to its affiliates abroad. (7) Exchange of Technology for Stock Option The emerging-industrycompany recognized by government, upon adoption of a resolution by a majority voting of the directors present at a meeting of its board of directors attended by two-thirds of the directors of the company, may issue stock options to corporation or individual in exchange for authorization or transfer of patent and technologies. (8) Deferral of Taxes on the Exchange of Technology for Shares Taxes on income earned by investors from the acquisition of shares in emerging-industry companies in exchange for technology will be deferred for five years, on condition that the shares exchanged for technology amount to more than 20% of the company's total stock equity and that the number of persons who obtain shares in exchange for technology does not exceed five. 3 、 Technical Assistance and Capital Investment The rapid industry development has been closely tied to the infusion of funds. In addition to tax benefits, the Statute incorporates regulations especially for technical assistance and capital investment as below: (1) In order to introduce or transfer advanced technologies, technical organization formed with the contribution of government shall provide appropriate technical assistance as required. (2) In order to advance technologies, enhance R&D activities and further upgrade industries, the relevant central government authorities in charge of end enterprises may promote the implementation of industrial and technological projects by providing subsidies to such R&D projects. (3) In order to assist the start-up of domestic small-medium technological enterprises and the overall upgrading of the entire industries, guidance and assistance shall be provided for the development of venture capital enterprises.

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.

Innovative Practice of Israel's Government Procurement

Innovative Practice of Israel's Government Procurement   Government procurement is an important pillar of government services. Because of the huge number of government purchases, government procurement management play an important role in promoting public sector efficiency and building citizenship. Well-designed government procurement systems also help to achieve policy such as environmental protection, innovation, start-ups and the development of small and medium-sized enterprises.   Nowadays, countries in the world, especially OECD countries, have been widely practiced with innovative procurement to stimulate innovation and start-ups, and call Innovation procurement can deliver solutions to challenges of public interest and ICTs can play a major role in this. However, in the OECD countries, in addition to the advanced countries that have been developed, many developing countries have also used government procurement to stimulate national R & D and innovation with remarkable results. Israel is one of the world's leading technology innovation centers, one of the most innovative economies in the world, continues to leverage its own strengths, support of technology entrepreneurship and unique environment, an international reputation in the high-tech industry, the spirit of technological innovation and novelty.   Government procurement is a core element of the activities of Israeli government, agreement with suppliers and compliance with the Mandatory Tenders Law. The main challenge is how to ensure efficiency and maintain government performance while ensuring an equitable and transparent procurement process. Israel’s Mandatory Tenders Law has shown the central role played by the Israeli Supreme Court in creating and developing this law, even in the absence of any procurement legislation, based instead on general principles of administrative law. Once the project of creating a detailed body of public tendering law had been completed, and the legislator was about to step in, the Supreme Court was prepared to step out and transferring the jurisdiction to lower courts. The Knesset passed the Mandatory Tenders Law, and based on it the Government issued the various tendering regulations. Besides, Israel's various international agreements on government procurement, mainly GPA and other bilateral international agreements such as free trade agreements with Mexico and Colombia and free trade agreements and memoranda of understanding with the United States. The practical significance of these commitments can only be understood on the backdrop of Israel’s domestic preference and offset policies. These policies were therefore discussed and analyzed as they apply when none of the international agreements applies.   The Challenge Tenders "How to solve the problem of overcrowding in the emergency department and the internal medicine department?" is the first of a series of "problem solicitations" released by the Israeli Ministry of Health which seeks to find a digital solution to the public health system problem, questions from the government while avoiding preconceived prejudices affect the nature of the solution, allowing multiple innovative ideas from different fields to enter the health system, make fair and transparent judgments about the ideal solution to the problem. In order to ensure transparency and integrity, equality, efficiency and competition in the decision-making process, the tender proposed by the Israeli Ministry of Health defines a two-stage tender process. The Ministry of Health of Israel, in order to improve the quality of medical care, shorten the waiting time for hospitalized patients, protect the dignity of patients and their families with patients as its center, and ensure their rights, while alleviating the burden of hospital staff, so as to pass the targeted treatment areas reduce the gap between various residential areas. The Israeli government deals with these issues through challenging tenders and offers a digital solution combined with innovative ideas. The initiative proposed through the development of public service projects can raise the level of public services in the country and help the government to reduce costs and achieve the purpose of promoting innovation with limited conceptual, technical and financial capabilities. In addition, due to the online operation of the challenging tender process throughout the entire process, fair and transparent procedures can be ensured, while public-private partnerships are encouraged to facilitate the implementation of the implementation plan.

The EU's New Legal Framework for European Research Infrastructure

Recognized that Research infrastructures (RIs) are at the centre of the knowledge triangle of research, education and innovation and play an increasingly important role in the advancement of knowledge and technology, the EU began to finance for the establishments of RIs by its Framework Programmes (FPs) since the start of FP2 of 1987. On the other hand, the EU also assigned the European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures (ESFRI) to develop a coherent and strategy-led approach to policy-making on RIs between Member States and to facilitate the better use and development of RIs at EU and international level. Based on those efforts, the European Commission understood that a major difficulty in setting up RIs between EU countries is the lack of an adequate legal framework allowing the creation of appropriate partnerships and proposed a legal framework for a European research infrastructure adapted to the needs of such facilities. The new legal framework for a European Research Infrastructure Consortium (ERIC) entered into force on 28 August 2009. An successfully-set-up ERIC will have the legal personality based on EU law, and can benefit from exemptions from VAT and excise duty in all EU Member States and may adopt its own procurement procedures to get rid of the EU's public procurement procedures. It is predicted that the Biobanking and Biomolecular Resources Research Infrastructure (BBMRI) will apply to become a BBMRI-ERIC in the near future. The EU also seeks to lead in Energy, Food and Biology through the reforms of ERICs to assist the high quality of activities of European scientists and attract the best researchers from around the world. Besides, in order to connect the knowledge triangle effectively, the European Commission also established the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) on March 2008. It hopes through the research development partnership network to gather all the advantages from the science and technology chains of multiple areas, and make an effort for the strategy of EU innovation development jointly;Meanwhile, extends its roadmap to the objectives and practices of the Knowledge and Innovation Communities (KICs) of the EIT. Contrast with the EU's advance, it is necessary to our government to concentrate and contemplate whether it is the time to reconsider if our existing legal instruments available to domestic research facilities and infrastructures are sufficient enough to reach our science and technology development goals.

TOP