The Tax Benefit of “Act for Establishment and Administration of Science Parks” and the Relational Norms for Innovation

The Tax Benefit of “Act for Establishment and Administration of Science Parks” and the Relational Norms for Innovation

  “Act for Establishment and Administration of Science Parks” was promulgated in 1979, and was amended entirely in May 15, 2018, announced in June 6. The title was revised from “Act for Establishment and Administration of Science ‘Industrial’ Parks” to “Act for Establishment and Administration of Science Parks” (it would be called “the Act” in this article). It was a significant transition from traditional manufacture into technological innovation.

  For encouraging different innovative technology enter into the science park, there is tax benefit in the Act. When the park enterprises import machines, equipment, material and so on from foreign country, the import duties, commodity tax, and business tax shall be exempted; moreover, when the park enterprises export products and services, it will have given favorable business and commodity tax free.[1] Furthermore, the park bureaus also exempt collection of land rent.[2] If they have approval for importing or exporting products, they do not need to apply for permission.[3] In the sub-law, there is also regulations of bonding operation.[4] To sum up, for applying the benefit of the act, enterprises approved for establishment in science parks still require to manufacture products. Such regulations are confined to industrial industry. Innovative companies dedicate in software, big data, or customer service, rarely gain benefits from taxation.

  In other norms,[5] there are also tax deduction or exemption for developing innovative industries. Based on promoting innovation, the enterprises following the laws of environmental protection, laborers’ safety, food safety and sanitation,[6] or investing in brand-new smart machines for their own utilize,[7] or licensing their intellectual property rights,[8] can deduct from its taxable income. In addition, the research creators from academic or research institutions,[9] or employee,[10] can declare deferral of the income tax payable for the shares distributed. In order to assist new invested innovative enterprises,[11] there are also relational benefit of tax. For upgrading the biotech and new pharmaceuticals enterprises, when they invest in human resource training, research and development, they can have deductible corporate income tax payable.[12] There is also tax favored benefits for small and medium enterprises in using of land, experiment of research, technology stocks, retaining of surplus, and additional employees hiring.[13] The present norms of tax are not only limiting in space or products but also encouraging in “research”. In other word, in each steps of the research of innovation, the enterprises still need to manufacture products from their own technology, fund and human resources. If the government could encourage open innovation with favored taxation, it would strengthen the capability of research and development for innovative enterprises.

  Supporting the innovation by taxation, the government can achieve the goal of scientific development more quickly and encourage them accepting guidance. “New York State Business Incubator and Innovation Hot Spot Support Act” can be an example, [14]the innovative enterprises accepting the guidance from incubators will have the benefit of tax on “personal income”, “sales and use” and “corporation franchise”. Moreover, focusing on key industries and exemplary cases, there are also the norms of tax exemption and tax abatement in China for promoting the development of technology.[15]The benefit of tax is not only in research but also in “the process of research”.

  To sum up, the government of Taiwan provides the benefit of tax for advancing the competition of outcomes in market, and for propelling the development of innovation. In order to accelerate the efficiency of scientific research, the government could draw lessons from America and China for enacting the norms about the benefit of tax and the constitution of guidance.

 

[1] The Act §23.

[2] Id. §24.

[3] Id. §25.

[4] Regulations Governing the Bonding Operations in Science Parks.

[5] Such as Act for Development of Small and Medium Enterprises, Statute for Industrial Innovation, Act for the Development of Biotech and New Pharmaceuticals Industry.

[6] Statute for Industrial Innovation §10.

[7] Id. §10-1.

[8] Id. §12-1.

[9] Id. §12-2.

[10] Id. §19-1.

[11] Id. §23-1, §23-2, §23-3.

[12] Act for the Development of Biotech and New Pharmaceuticals Industry §5, §6, §7.

[13] Act for Development of Small and Medium Enterprises Chapter 4: §33 to §36-3.

[14] New York State Department of Taxation and Finance Taxpayer Guidance Division, New York State Business Incubator and Innovation Hot Spot Support Act, Technical Memorandum TSB-M-14(1)C, (1)I, (2)S, at 1-6 (March 7, 2014), URL:http://www.wnyincubators.com/content/Innovation%20Hot%20Spot%20Technical%20Memorandum.pdf (last visited:December 18, 2019).

[15] Enterprise Income Tax Law of the People’s Republic of China Chapter 4 “Preferential Tax Treatments”: §25 to §36 (2008 revised).

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※The Tax Benefit of “Act for Establishment and Administration of Science Parks” and the Relational Norms for Innovation,STLI, https://stli.iii.org.tw/en/article-detail.aspx?no=105&tp=2&i=168&d=8370 (Date:2020/10/25)
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Executive Yuan Yuan Promoted “Productivity 4.0” to Boost Global Competitiveness

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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.

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.

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