The “Free Economic Demonstration Zones” (hereinafter as FEDZs) is a critical part to improve the liberalization and internationalization of the economy of Republic of China (R.O.C). By deregulation, FEDZs was conceived as trial zones. Once the results of the program were promising, it would be expanded to the entire country. In order to engage in the regional economic and trade integration, the Executive Yuan approved a Bill titled “The Free Economic Pilot Zones Special Act” (hereinafter as Bill) on April 26th, 2013.
On Mar 6th, 2014, the Joint Economic, Internal Administration , and Finance Committee of the Legislation Yuan (the Congress) discussed the Bill for reports and questions. By the end of the March, 2014, the Congress will hold five public hearings. Not until the discussion of the Bill item by item and the passage in the Congress, the second stage of the FEDZ program would not be initiated. There are five main points, including the treatments on foreigners and people from mainland China, tax incentives for Taiwanese businessman, foreign professionals and foreign companies, regulations on untaxed goods and labor, regulations on industrial development, such as the agriculture and the medical, and certain new items on education and professional services.
For the reason that the government considered the need of human resources to sustain the operation of the industries, the Executive Yuan is trying to promote innovative education in FEPZs. Since the education requirements for both of public and private universities are unified in local, colleges and universities were restrained and missed some great opportunities to discover their own niches in education. Hence, innovative education in FEPZs is trying to help higher education system to introduce foreign education resources and foresight concepts, and to attract more international students. The innovative educational projects within FEPZs will also facilitate the cooperations among domestic and foreign universities, and set up experimental branch campuses, colleges, degree programs or professional courses. Besides, the financial service sector is also included. Since FEDZs is an important pusher for R.O.C to move forward in regional economic integration, accordingly, the most significant liberate item for the financial industry in the FEPZs is to allow offshore banking units and offshore security units to provide financial products and service (e.g. OSU and OBU). Meanwhile, the financial industry is predicted to receive an NTD$140 billion or more in revenues over the next five year.
In summary, FEPZs is regarded as a engine propelling liberalization and internationalization. To gain the international competitiveness, the government will continue to promote policies and measures. By establishing the free economic demonstration zone, it is expected to create innovative effects into the education system and to create more job opportunities.
The Republic of China (R.O.C) have been carried out “free economic” recent years, by promoting “Free Economic Pilot Zone” (hereinafter as FEPZs) to encourage every industrial and foreign investment. Besides, FEPZs will not only keep talents and technologies in R.O.C but also liberalize and internationalize our economic.
The Executive Yuan had approved a Bill titled “The Free Economic Pilot Zones Special Act” (hereinafter as the Bill) on Dec. 26th, 2013. At the end of May, the Joint Economic, Internal Administration, and Finance Committee of the Legislation Yuan (the Congress) have taken five public hearings for the Bill, and amended the Bill according to the advices proposed by specialists. Not until the deliberation of the Bill item by item and its passage in the Congress, the second stage of the FEDZ program would not be initiated. There are five main points, including the treatments on foreigners, tax incentives for R.O.C businessman, foreign professionals and foreign companies, regulations on untaxed goods and labor, regulations on industrial development, such as the agriculture and the medical service, and certain new items on education and professional services.
The government considers that there have to be enough human resource to sustain the opened industries, so Executive Yuan is trying to promote innovative education in FEPZs. The core concept of FEPZs is foresight, liberalization and internationalization, the premier said, and the higher education systems belong to high-end service and have much more marketability and variability compared to other education systems. Through innovative and efficient way to manage the school could let University being much more liberalized. Furthermore, the higher education systems in R.O.C. have to connect with international education to avoid being marginalized. Our first stage of education innovation will promote to set up “degree programs” and “professional courses”. The first phase for the Ministry of Education is going to found “degree programs” or “professional courses” through collaboration way. The Ministry of Education will also draw up related regulations or guidance on standards for school cooperation, co-regulation, setup conditions, supervision, enrolling new student, and recruiting staff.? Once the Bills pass, The Ministry of Education plans to establish “branch school” and “independence campus” helping R.O.C. higher education goes internationalized.
On the other hand, Our medical service also has strong international competitiveness. R.O.C is engage in developing international medical and health industry. The premier said, the Ministry of Health and Welfare have proposed some measures, such as limitation to the number of medical centre, medical personnel working hours, and NHI is not allow to use in the zones.
The premier added, on the extemporaneous sittings, “The Free Economic Pilot Zones Special Act” will be the priority bills and be deliberated in the end of June By establishing the free economic demonstration zone, it is expected to propel R.O.C take part in Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).
The “Free Economic Pilot Zones” (hereinafter as FEPZs) plays a pivotal role in promoting market liberalization, especially at an international level. Premier of the Executive Yuan, Mr. Jiang Yi-Hua has stated that the “market economy” and “innovation economy” allows for tremendous economic prosperity to be embraced by the Republic of China (hereinafter as R.O.C). The seizing of such opportunity has been the goal of government efforts, which can be attested by the recent proposal of the “The Free Economic Pilot Zones Special Act” (hereinafter as the Bill), currently undergoing review and consultation proceedings. The Premier further stressed that the national economy should not be left excluded from international commerce, on the other hand, it is imperative that closer economic bonds with other nations are forged, therefore allowing itself open up to wider scope of opportunities for growth. The key in rendering this possible is through the enactment of laws. At a time, when Trans-Pacific nations, including the United States of America, Japan and countries from Southeast Asia, are working towards regional economic cooperation, if R.O.C. is to be left out, it is feared that its position in the global market would further be marginalized.
The core innovative strengths of the FEPZs include “Smart Logistics”, “International healthcare services”, “Value added agriculture”, “Financial Services”, “Education Innovation”, all of which are implemented by employing R.O.C.’s finest workforce, knowledge, information and communications technology (ICT), geographical position and cross-strait relationship advantages, leading way for an advantageous basis for pioneering economic development. The first stage of development will be based on 6 locations proximal to the sea (including Keelung Port, Taipei Port, Kaohsiung Port, Suao Harbor, Anping Port, Taichung Port) and Taoyuan Aerotropolis and Pingtung Agricultural Biotech Park. The second stage of development would only commence after the Bill have been approved by the legislative Yuan, which would attract much capital investment, hence boosting high employment rates. Presently, besides the aforementioned regions opened up for the FEPZs, other cities and industrial sites (including those from offshore islands), are striving to gain membership of the FEPZs, or applying for empirical research of the FEPZs.
The Executive Yuan has published a report concerning the legal and economic implications of its the Bill on May 2014. The report largely consists of assessments made by varying governing bodies, such as Ministry of Home Affairs, Financial Supervisory Commission etc., on the implications of the draft concerning real estate, employment, fiscal income, logistics, conditions for medical care, agriculture, higher education, social environment and social wealth redistribution etc.
Furthermore, international attention has been closely centered on the progress of FEPZs. During the “The third review of the trade policies and practices of Chinese Taipei” after R.O.C accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO) held on the 17th of September 2014 in Geneva, each member state has demonstrated expectations arising out of the direction and planning undertaken for the FEPZs. National economic and international commercial reforms are under way and have seen much progress in further promoting the overall strength of the economic system, in an effort to respond to the rapid global political and economic developments, for example, through the signing of Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA), and the implementation of FEPZs policies. In the future, it will be expected that R.O.C. will strive for a more integral international commercial system, allowing much capital investment inflows as well as the cultivating of high-caliber human resources.
To promote more liberal and internationalized development of Taiwan economy, government of Republic of China (R.O.C) approved the “Free Economic Pilot Zone (FEPZ) Plan,” which the Bill is currently censored in Legislation Yuan and the measures would be implemented in two phases. The first phase of FEPZs would be initiated within six free trade ports, Taoyuan airport free trade zone, and Pingtung Agricultural Biotechnology Park; other industries that match up with the idea of liberalization, internationalization and foresight can all be incorporated into FEPZ through continuing examination under Execution Yuan. After this special legislation is passed, the set-ups of demonstration zones can be applied by authorities either of central or of local government and the related promotion works of the second phase will be unfolded immediately.
Heading to the target of becoming Kin-Xiao (Kinmen and Xiaomen) Free Trade Zone, Kinmen government planned to apply to be one of the FEPZs and thus cooperated with Taiwan Institute of Economic Research (TIER) on December 11, for a commissioned research (which was later released on the conference of accelerating Kin-Xia FTZ on December 19) on evaluating if Kinmen is qualified for an application of FEPZs. Kinmen’s critical location and the featured industries have composed a perfect environment complying with the ideas such as value-added agriculture, international healthcare and innovative education for FEPZ. For instance, the white liquor industry in Kinmen represents the international management and promotion of agricultural products, and is the best example for value-added agriculture. “Long-term Healthcare Village in Kinmen,” which is currently developing in Kinmen, would also be a drive for international healthcare industry. Based on the Taiwan-featured culture, “International Education City” could be developed with a liberal and innovative atmosphere, which would attract famous schools in world to set up their branch school in Kinmen. Above all, Kinmen County vice Mayor, Wu Yo-Chin, indicated that Kinmen would be the first choice for FEPZ and would hold the key to open a new gate for the Cross-Strait. The vice Mayor emphasized that Kinmen government has well budgeting and financial management, which needn’t the extra aids from central government, yet Kinmen was excluded in the first phase of FEPZs. Although Kinmen would apply to be a FEPZ in the second phase after the special legislation passed, Kinmen still strived for taking part in the first phase of FEPZs due to the uncertain schedule for implementation of regulations on FEPZs.
National Development Council (NDC), however, gave an opinion on issue of Kinmen applying to be in the first phase of FEPZs, which declared again the original plan for the first phase only included six free trade ports, Taoyuan airport free trade zone, and Pingtung Agricultural Biotechnology Park. NDC also suggested Kinmen could still follow after the first phase and apply to be a FEPZ in the second phase.
Executive Yuan Yuan Promoted “Productivity 4.0” to Boost Global Competitiveness 1.Executive Yuan held the “Productivity 4.0: Strategy Review Board Meeting” to boost industrial transformation The Executive Yuan held the “Productivity 4.0: Strategy Review Board Meeting” on June 4-5th , 2015. The GDP per capita of manufacturing and service industries, including machinery, metal processing, transportation vehicles, 3C, food, textile, logistics, health care, and agriculture, are expected to be over 10 million NT dollars by 2024. This meeting focuses on three topics: Productivity 4.0 industry and technology development strategy, advanced development strategy on advanced manufacturing and innovation application, and strategy on engineering smart tech talents cultivation and Industry-academic Cooperation. The three main themes to be used to put the advanced manufacturing into force are smart automation and robots, sensing and control technologies from Internet of Things (IoT), and technologies used in analyzing the big data. As a result, the digitalization of small- and medium-sized business and smart operation of big business are as the cornerstones to build service-oriented systems and develop advanced manufacturing in R.O.C.. Facing challenges of labor shortages and aging labor forces, the Executive Yuan is planning to implement “Productivity 4.0” to stimulate the process of industry transformation of value-added innovation and provide new products and services in global market. In implementing the above-mentioned policy goals, the Executive Yuan is planning three directions to be followed. First, global competitiveness is depended upon key technologies. As OEMs, manufacturing industry in R.O.C. is unable to provide products of self-owned brand and is vulnerable while facing challenges from other transnational companies. Second, the Premier, Dr. Mao Chi-kuo, made reference of the bicycle industry’s successful development model as an example for the Productivity 4.0 “A-Team” model. Through combining technologies and organizations, the aim is to build competitive supply chains across all the small- and medium-sized business. Finally, the new skills training and the cultivation of talents are more urgent than ever before. While technical and vocational schools, universities and postgraduate studies are needed to be equipped with sufficient fundamental knowledge, those already in the job market have to learn the skills and knowledge necessary for industrial transformation so that they could contribute their capabilities and wisdom for Ourfuture. 2.Executive Yuan Approved “Productivity 4.0 Initiative” to Promote Industry Innovation and Transformation The Executive Yuan has approved the Productivity 4.0 Initiative on September 17, 2015. Before its approval, the Office of Science and Technology (OST) gave a presentation on the Draft of the Productivity 4.0 Initiative on July 23, 2015 detailing the underlying motives behind the program. Confronted with the challenges our traditional industries and OEMs meet, including labor shortages (the national laboring population ranging from age 15 to 65 has seen a substantial decrease of 0.18 to 0.2 million annually) and a aging labor force, the the Productivity 4.0 Initiative sets the directions for industrial development tackling these issues through six main strategies: enhancing and fine-tuning flagship industries’ smart-supply-chain ecosystems, encouraging the establishing of startups, localizing production and services, securing autonomy in key technologies, cultivating practical and technical talents and injection of industrial policy tools. After hearing the presentation on the Initiative, the Premier, Mao Chi-kuo, made reference to the core ideas of the Productivity 4.0 Initiative in his concluding remarks. “The core concept of the Productivity 4.0 Initiative is to propel R.O.C. to a pivotal position in the global manufacturing supply chain by capitalizing on the nation’s core strength in industrial technology, while fostering an outstanding work environment stimulating synergy between employees and automotive systems in order to cope with R.O.C.’s imminent labor shortage,” Mao said Also focusing on the Productivity 4.0 Initiative, the Premier gave a keynote speech titled ‘Views on the current economic and social issues’ at the Third Wednesday Club. He takes the view that the GDP downslide is of a structural nature and the government is going to guide the economy towards an upward path by assisting industries to innovate and transform. In an effort to remove the three major obstacles to innovation and entrepreneurship— discouraging laws and regulations, difficulty in raising capital and gathering financing as well as lack of international partnerships, the government has been diligently promoting the Third Party Payment Act as well as setting-up R.O.C. Rapid Innovation Prototyping League for Enterprises. Among these measures, Industry 4.0 has been at the core of the Initiative, in which cyber-physical production system (CPS) would be introduced by integrating Cloud-computing and Internet of Things technology to spur industrial transformations, specifically industrial manufacturing, added-value services and agricultural production. The Productivity 4.0 Initiative is an imperative measure in dealing with R.O.C.’s imminent issues of labor shortage, and the aging society, its promising effects are waiting to unfold. 3.Executive Yuan’s Further Addendum to “Productivity 4.0 Plan”: Attainment of Core Technologies and the Cultivation of Domestic Technical Talents In an continual effort to put in place the most integrated infrastructural setting for the flourishing of its “Productivity 4.0 Plan”, Executive Yuan Premier Mao Chi-Kuo announced on the 22nd October that the overhaul infrastructural set-up will be focused on the development of core technologies and the cultivation of skilled technical labor. To this end, the Executive Yuan is gathering participation and resources from the Ministry of Economic Affairs (hereafter MOEA), Ministry of Education, Ministry of Science and Technology, Ministry of Labor, the Council of Agriculture, among other governmental bodies, collecting experiences and knowledge from academia and researchers, in order to improve the development of pivotal technologies, the training of skilled technical labor and consequently to improve and reform the present education system so as to meet the aforementioned goals. Premier Mao Chi-Kuo pointed out that Productivity 4.0 is a production concept in which the industry is evolved from mere automation- to intelligent-based manufacturing, shifting towards a “small-volume, large-variety” production paradigm, closing the gaps between production and consumption sides through direct communication, hence allowing industry to push itself further on changing its old efficiency-based production model to an innovation-driven one. Apart from the Research and Development efforts geared towards key technologies, Premier Mao stressed that the people element, involved in this transformative process, is what dictates Productivity 4.0 Plan’s success. The cross-over or multi-disciplinary capability of the labor force is especially significant. In order to bring up the necessary work force needed for Productivity 4.0, besides raising support for the needed Research and Development, an extensive effort should be placed in reforming and upgrading the current educational system, as well as the technical labor and internal corporate educational structure. Moreover, an efficient platform should be implemented so that opinions and experiences could be pooled out, thus fostering closer ties between industry, academia and research. The MOEA stated that the fundamental premise behind the Productivity 4.0 strategy is that by way of systematic, brand-orientated formation of technical support groups, constituted by members of industry, academia and research, will we able to develop key sensor, internet and core technologies for our manufacturing, business and agriculture sector. It is estimated that by the end of year 2016, the Executive Yuan will have completed 6 major Productivity 4.0 production lines; supported the development of technical personnel in smart manufacturing, smart business and smart agriculture, amounting to 2,500 persons; established 4 inter-university, inter-disciplinary strategic partnerships in order to prepare much needed labor force for the realization of the Productivity 4.0 Plan. It is estimated that by the year 2020, industry has already developed the key technologies through the Productivity 4.0 platform, aiding to decrease by 50% the time currently needed to for Research and Development, increasing the technological sovereignty by 50% and accrue production efficiency by 15% and above. Furthermore, through the educational reforms, the nation will be able to lay solid foundations for its future labor talents, as well as connecting them to the world at large, effectively making them fit to face the global markets and to upgrade their production model.Executive Yuan Promotes Free Economic Demonstration Zone
I.Background To promote more liberal and internationalized development of Taiwan economy, Premier of Executive Yuan approved the “Free Economic Demonstration Zone Plan” on April 26, 2013. Meanwhile, an Executive Yuan Working Group on Promotion of Economic Demonstration Zone is set up to accelerate the mapping out of the promotion programs as well as detailed action plans. The first phase of the Free Economic Demonstration Zone is to be officially initiated in July. According to the “Free Economic Demonstration Zone Plan”, the relevant laws and provisions regarding the flowing of human and financial capitals, and of logistics, will be loosen up to a great degree, based on the core ideas of liberalization, internationalization, and forwardness. Other related measures such as offering of lands and taxation would also be made, in order to attract capitals from both the inside and outside of the country. In addition, the Free Economic Demonstration Zone will first develop economic activities such as intelligent computing, international medicine services, value-added agriculture and cooperation among industries, to accelerate the transformation of the industrial structure of Taiwan. In order to construe an excellent environment for business of full liberalization and internationalization, the promotion strategies will be focused on “break-through of legal frameworks and innovations of management mechanisms”. II.Content of the Plan To accelerate the promotion process, the Free Economic Demonstration Zone will be conducted in two phases. The first phase is centered on the existing free trade port areas, including five ports and one airport, incorporated with the nature of “being inside the country border but outside the tariff zone”. All the industrial parks in the near counties and cities will also be integrated. The promotion will be set out simultaneously in the north, middle and south of Taiwan. The effects of the promotion are expected to be magnified by fully utilizing the resources and the unique characters of industries of each region. Moreover, the promulgation of a special legislation on the Free Economic Demonstration Zone would be facilitated in the future. After this special legislation is passed, the set-ups of demonstration zones can be applied by authorities either of central or of local government and the related promotion works of the second phase will be unfolded immediately. According to the Executive Yuan, the Free Economic Demonstration Zone will be beneficial in terms of creating positive conditions for Taiwan to participate in regional trade organizations and attract both local and foreign investment, injecting new movement into the economic growth of Taiwan. III.Recent Development In addition, on August 8, 2013, relevant discussions on “Furtherance Plan for Free Economic Demonstration Zone Phase One” are further unfolded in the Executive Yuan conference. In addition, the Premier also indicates, that the furtherance of the Free Economic Demonstration Zone (hereafter: FEDZ) is divided into two phases. The first phase starts from the moment that the Plan is approved till the related special legislation is passed and promulgated. In this phase, the relevant tasks can be achieved through the ways of promulgation of administrative orders. On the other hand, the tasks concerning taxation benefits and other parts that involve legislation will not able to be initiated till the second phase of the Plan. For those tasks, the Council for Economic Planning and Development is asked to complete the drafting of this special legislation and related procedures for registering it into the Executive Yuan, together with the Ministry of Economic Affairs and other concerned agencies, in the hope that the related legislation works of the Executive Yuan can be completed before the end of this year. In respect of “Furtherance Plan for Free Economic Demonstration Zone Phase One”, Premier Jiang further points out, that FEDZ is a model incorporates the concept of “being inside the country border but outside the tariff zone” and the idea of “combining the stores upfront and the factories behind, outsourcing manufactures”. In this way, the hinterland of a port can be expended and magnified effects to be achieved through using the resources provided by the factory in behind. Under this pattern, the expansion effects that cities and counties such as New Taipei City and Changhua Country fight for, can be further extended by this concept of “factories in the back”. As for Port of Anping, over which Tainan City government has proactively fought for, can be listed as a demonstration zone once the Executive Yuan approved it as free trade port zone. In the future, other places that are with forward-looking industry and suitable can still be enlisted. Premier Jiang further expresses that, there are four demonstration industries in the first phase, including intelligent computing, international medicine services, value-added agriculture and cooperation among industries. Yet, he also points out that the demonstration of liberalized economy is a concept of “4+N”. It means that the demonstration will not be limited to the scope of these four industries. Other industries that match up with the idea of liberalization, internationalization and foresight can all be incorporated into FEDZ through continuing examination. Moreover, Premier Jiang later mentions on August 14th, that FEDZ is a crucial task for the government at this moment. He thus requests the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Transportation and Communications, Ministry of Health and Welfare, and the Council of Agriculture, to enhance the training and service quality of staffers of the single service window of furtherance of FEDZ. Moreover, Premier Jiang additionally indicated in November, that the scope of the FEDZ will include Pingtung Agricultural Biotechnology Park and Kaohsiung Free Trade Port Area. The combination of the two will facilitate adding value to the agriculture in Taiwan and put momentum into quality agriculture, making the high-quality agricultural products of our country being sold to all over the world with swift logistic services. Premier Jiang also mentioned, that in order to avoid Taiwan being marginalized amid regional integrations of global economies, the government is facilitating industries of potentials by proactively promote the FEDZ. The current approach is to expend the original free trade port area with legislative bases, creating the demonstration zones of free economy by combing original establishments such as Pingtung Agricultural Biotechnology Park. If this approach and system is proved feasible, the next step would be promoting it to island-wide, making the whole nation open-up. IV.Conclusion In the past decade, the economic development in Taiwan, compared to neighboring economic zones such as Hong Kong, Korean or Singapore, was indeed stagnant. It is thus a positive move for the government to put great efforts in promoting FEDZ, in the hope that the liberalization and internationalization of the economy of this country can therefore be significantly improved. Yet, some commentators are of slightly more skeptical opinions, reminding that in terms of the tax relaxation in the Plan, similar approach was already taken by the government before, which did not lead to the expected outcome. In sum, it still remains as a continuing task for us and for the administration as well, to ponder on how Taiwan can find out its own unique strength in the face of global competition. How we can attract more international partners, to create mutual economic benefits. The FEDZ is undoubtedly a first step. Nevertheless, challenges are still ahead of the government, as to how to take many more steps in the future, in order to make Taiwan to march on the stage of the world again.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.Recommendation of the Regulations on the Legal and Effective Access to Taiwan’s Biological Resources
Preface Considering that, 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. Can Taiwan's regulations comply with the purposes and objects of CBD? Is there a need for Taiwan to set up specific regulations for the management of these access activities? This article plans to present Taiwan's regulations and review the effectiveness of the existing regulations from the aspect of enabling the legal and effective access to biological resources. A recommendation will be made on whether Taiwan should reinforce the management of the bio-resources access activities. Review and Recommendation of the Regulations on the Legal and Effective Access to Taiwan's Biological Rersearch Resources （1）Evaluate the Needs and Benefits before Establishing the Regulation of Access Rights When taking a look at the current development of the regulations on the access of biological resources internationally, we discover that some countries aggressively develop designated law for access, while some countries still adopt existing regulations to explain the access rights. Whether to choose a designated law or to adopt the existing law should depend on the needs of establishing access and benefit sharing system. Can the access and benefit sharing system benefit the functioning of bio-technological research and development activities that link closely to the biological resources? Can the system protect the interests of Taiwan's bio-research results? In Taiwan, in the bio-technology industry, Agri-biotech, Medical, or Chinese Herb Research & Development are the key fields of development. However, the biological resources they use for the researches are mainly supplied from abroad. Hence, the likelihood of violating international bio-piracy is higher. On the contrary, the incidence of international research houses searching for the biological resources from Taiwan is comparatively lower, so the possibility for them to violate Taiwan's bio-piracy is very low. To look at this issue from a different angle, if Taiwan establishes a separate management system for the access of biological resources, it is likely to add more restrictions to Taiwan's bio-tech R&D activities and impact the development of bio-industry. Also, under the new management system, international R&D teams will also be confined, if they wish to explore the biological resources, or conduct R&D and seek for co-operation activities in Taiwan. Not to mention that it is not a usual practice for international R&D teams to look for Taiwan's biological resources. A new management system will further reduce their level of interest in doing so. In the end, the international teams will then shift their focus of obtaining resources from other countries where the regulation on access is relatively less strict. Before Taiwan establishes the regulations on the legal and effective access to bio-research resources, the government should consider not only the practical elements of the principal on the fair and impartial sharing of the derived interests from bio-research resources, but also take account of its positive and negative impacts on the development of related bio-technological industries. Even if a country's regulation on the access and benefit sharing is thorough and comprehensive enough to protect the interests of bio-resource provider, it will, on the contrary, reduce the industry's interest in accessing the bio-resources. As a result, the development of bio-tech industry will be impacted and the resource provider will then be unable to receive any benefits. By then, the goal of establishing the regulation to benefit both the industry and resource provider will not be realized. To sum up, it is suggested to evaluate the suitability of establishing the management system for the access to biological resources through the cost-effect analysis first. And, further consider the necessity of setting up regulations by the access the economic benefits derived from the regulation for both resource provider and bio-tech industry. （2）The Feasibility of Managing the access to Bio-research Resources from existing Regulations As analysed in the previous paragraphs, the original intention of setting up the Wildlife Conservation Act, National Park Law, Forestry Act, Cultural Heritage Preservation Act, and Aboriginal Basic Act is to protect the environment and to conserve the ecology. However, if we utilize these traditional regulations properly, it can also partially help to manage the access to biological resources. When Taiwan's citizens wish to enter specific area, or to collect the biological resources within the area, they need to receive the permit from management authority, according to current regulations. Since these national parks, protection areas, preserved areas, or other controlled areas usually have the most comprehensive collections of valuable biological resources in a wide range of varieties, it is suggested to include the agreements of access and benefit sharing as the mandatory conditions when applying for the entrance permit. Therefore, the principal of benefit sharing from the access to biological resources can be assured. Furthermore, the current regulations already favour activities of accessing biological resources for academic research purpose. This practice also ties in with the international trend of separating the access application into two categories - academic and business. Australia's practice of access management can be a very good example of utilizing the existing regulations to control the access of resources. The management authority defines the guidelines of managing the entrance of control areas, research of resources, and the collection and access of resources. The authority also adds related agreements, such as PIC (Prior Informed Consent), MTA (Material Transfer Agreement), and benefit sharing into the existing guidelines of research permission. In terms of scope of management, the existing regulation does not cover all of Taiwan's bio-research resources. Luckily, the current environmental protection law regulates areas with the most resourceful resources or with the most distinctive and rare species. These are often the areas where the access management system is required. Therefore, to add new regulation for access management on top of the existing regulation is efficient method that utilizes the least administrative resources. This could be a feasible way for Taiwan to manage the access to biological resources. （3）Establish Specific Regulations to Cover the Details of the Scope of Derived Interests and the Items and Percentage of Funding Allocation In addition to the utilization of current regulations to control the access to biological resources, many countries establish specific regulations to manage the biological resources. If, after the robust economic analysis had been done, the country has come to an conclusion that it is only by establishing new regulations of access management the resources and derived interests of biological resources can be impartially shared, the CBD (Convention of Bio Diversity), the Bonn Guidelines, or the real implementation experiences of many countries can be an important guidance when establishing regulations. Taiwan has come up with the preliminary draft of Genetic Resources Act that covers the important aspects of international access guidelines. The draft indicates the definition and the scope of access activities, the process of access applications (for both business and academic purpose), the establishment of standardized or model MTA, the obligation of disclosing the sources of property rights (patents), and the establishment of bio-diversity fund. However, if we observe the regulation or drafts to the access management of the international agreements or each specific country, we can find that the degree of strictness varies and depends on the needs and situations. Generally speaking, these regulations usually do not cover some detailed but important aspects such as the scope of derived interests from biological resources, or the items and percentage of the allocation of bio-diversity fund. Under the regulation to the access to biological resources, in addition to the access fee charge, the impartial sharing of the derived interests is also an important issue. Therefore, to define the scope of interests is extremely important. Any interest that is out of the defined scope cannot be shared. The interest stated in the existing regulation generally refers to the biological resources or the derived business interests from genetic resources. Apart from describing the forms of interest such as money, non-money, or intellectual property rights, the description of actual contents or scope of the interests is minimal in the regulations. However, after realizing the importance of bio-diversity and the huge business potential, many countries have started to investigate the national and international bio-resources and develop a database system to systematically collect related bio-research information. The database comprised of bio-resources is extremely useful to the activities related to bio-tech developments. If the international bio-tech companies can access Taiwan's bio-resource database, it will save their travelling time to Taiwan. Also, the database might as well become a product that generates revenues. The only issue that needs further clarification is whether the revenue generated from the access of database should be classified as business interests, as defined in the regulations. As far as the bio-diversity fund is concerned, many countries only describe the need of setting up bio-diversity funds in a general manner in the regulations. But the definition of which kind of interests should be put into funds, the percentage of the funds, and the related details are not described. As a result, the applicants to the access of bio-resources or the owner of bio-resources cannot predict the amount of interests to be put into bio-diversity fund before they actually use the resources. This issue will definitely affect the development of access activities. To sum up, if Taiwan's government wishes to develop the specific regulations for the access of biological resources, it is advised to take the above mentioned issues into considerations for a more thoroughly described, and more effective regulations and related framework. Conclusion In recent years, it has been a global trend to establish the regulations of the access to and benefit sharing of bio-resources. The concept of benefit sharing is especially treated as a useful weapon for the developing countries to protect the interests of their abundant bio-research resources. However, as we are in the transition period of changing from free access to biological resources to controlled access, we are facing different regulations within one country as well as internationally. It will be a little bit disappointing for the academic research institution and the industry who relies on the biological resources to conduct bio-tech development if they do not see a clear principal direction to follow. The worse case is the violation of the regulation of the country who owns the bio-resources when the research institutions try to access, exchange, or prospect the biological resources without thorough understanding of related regulations. For some of Taiwan's leading fields in the bio-tech industry, such as Chinese and herbal medicine related products, agricultural products, horticultural products, and bio-tech products, since many resources are obtained from abroad, the incidence of violation of international regulation will increase, and the costs from complying the regulations will also increase. Therefore, not only the researcher but also the government have the responsibility to understand and educate the related people in Taiwan's bio-tech fields the status of international access management regulations and the methods of legally access the international bio-research resources. Currently in Taiwan, we did not establish specific law to manage the access to and benefit sharing of bio-resources. Comparing with the international standard, there is still room of improvement for Taiwan's regulatory protection to the provider of biological resources. However, we have to consider the necessity of doing so, and how to do the improvement. And Taiwan's government should resolve this issue. When we consider whether we should follow international trend to establish a specific law for access management, we should always go back to check the potential state interests we will receive and take this point into consideration. To define the interests, we should always cover the protection of biological resources, the development of bio-tech industry, and the administrative costs of government. Also the conservation of biological resources and the encouragement of bio-tech development should be also taken into consideration when the government is making decisions. In terms of establishing regulations for the access to biological resources and the benefit sharing, there are two possible solutions. The first solution is to utilize the existing regulations and add the key elements of access management into the scope of administrative management. The work is planned through the revision of related current procedures such as entrance control of controlled areas and the access of specific resources. The second solution is to establish new regulations for the access to biological resources. The first solution is relatively easier and quicker; while the second solution is considered to have a more comprehensive control of the issue. The government has the final judgement on which solution to take to generate a more effective management of Taiwan's biological resources.