Introduction to Tax Incentive Regime for SMEs

Introduction to Tax Incentive Regime for SMEs

I. Introduction

  The developments of SMEs (small-and-medium enterprises) plays an important pillar of development of industries and creation of jobs in Taiwan. In 2017, the total number of SMEs in Taiwan was 1,437,616. They offer 8,904,000 jobs, accounting for 78.44% of the workforce[1]. However, SMEs have difficulties in entering international supply chains because of their weakness in finance. Therefore, how to enhance the global competitiveness of SMEs is an important issue for the concerned authority. Chapter 4 of the Act for Development of Small and Medium Enterprises prescribes the tax incentive regime based on the financial capability of SMEs and characteristics of industries in order to facilitate the development of SMEs, especially the globalization of SMEs. This paper will review the importance of tax incentives to SMEs and introduces the tax incentive regime under the Act for Development of Small and Medium Enterprises In order to help SMES have an understanding of such regime.

II. SME Tax Incentives Scheme

  As the gatekeeper of the market, the government may intervene the market with various policies or tools to reallocate and improve the soundness of the market environment when the market competitions is impaired due to information asymmetry or externalities. At this juncture, preferential tax rates or tax deductions can be offered to specific taxpayers through legal institution. This allows these taxpayers to retain higher post-tax earnings so that they are incentified to invest more resources in the legally defined economic activities. Tax incentives targeting at risky or spillover investments to create benefits to specific economic activities will help the development of industries and markets.

  Whilst Article 10 of the Statute for Industrial Innovation has provided tax cuts for R&D expenditures, these incentives are not focus on SMEs and hence not supportive to their research and innovations. This was the reason for the 2016 amendment of the Act for Development of Small and Medium Enterprises added Article 35 to offer tax incentives in order to encourage R&D and innovative efforts and Article 35-1 to activate intellectual properties via licensing. These articles aim to accelerate the momentum of innovations and transformations which promoting investments for SMEs. OthersTo assist SMEs to cope with change of the business environment, the Article 36-2 added the tax incentives for salary or headcount increases, to contribute to the sustainability of SMEs and stabilize the labour market and industrial structures. Following is an explanation of the applicability of these schemes and the requirements to qualify such incentives.

III. Tax Incentives to Promote Investments

(I) Tax deductions for R&D expenditures

  Governments around the world seek to encourage corporate R&D activities, that Tax incentives are put in place to reduce R&D costs and foster a healthy environment of investment for more R&D initiatives. Neighboring countries such as Japan, Korea and Singapore are frequently practicing belowing tax burdens to encourage R&D efforts. Article 35 of the Act for Development of Small and Medium Enterprises in Taiwan allows accelerated depreciation and offers tax cuts[2] to stimulate R&D and innovations and create an investment friendly environment for SMEs.

1. Taxpaying Entities and Requirements

(1) Qualifications for SMEs

  Article 35 of the Act is applicable to qualified SMEs and individual taxpayers, which are (1) from manufacturing, construction & engineering, mining and quarrying industries, with paid-in capital below or equal to NT$80 million or with the number of full-time employees less than 200 people; (2) from other industries with the sales of the previous year below or equal to NT$100 million or with the number of full-time employees less than 100 people. Thus, the qualifications of Small and Medium Enterprises are based on either paid-in capital/sales or number of employees under the Act[3].Meanwhile, SMEs may not have an independent R&D department due to the limit of size or operating cost.Therefore, if the taxpayers hiring full-time R&D personnel that can provide records of job descriptions and work logs to R&D activities, the SMEs can access the tax incentives provided that the R&D functions. The recognized by government agencies is increasingly flexibility for SMEs seeking policy support.  

2. Taxpayers and requirements

(1) A certain degree of innovativeness

  As the tax incentive regime strives to promote innovations, the R&D expenses should be used to fund innovative developments. According to the official letters from the Small and Medium Enterprise Administration, Ministry of Economic Affairs, there is no high bar as forward-looking, risky and innovative as usually” required for other incentives previously, which is considering the size of SMEs and their industry characteristics. The “certain degree” of innovativeness shall be based on industry environments and SME businesses as determined by competent authorities in a flexible manner.

(2) Flexibility in the utilization of business income tax reductions

  To encourage regular R&D activities, The case that SMEs may not have R&D undertakings each year due to funding constraints, or start-up company may have incurred R&D expenditures but are not yet profitable and hence have no tax liabilities during the year, Corporate taxpayers were able to choose beside deduct the payable taxes during a single year, and reduce the payable taxes during the current year over three years starting from the year when tax incentives are applicable.

3. Tax incentive effects

  As previously mentioned, Article 35 of the Act for Development of Small and Medium Enterprises accommodates the characteristics of SMEs by allowing reductions of corporate business taxes for up to 15% R&D expenditures during the current year, or spreading the tax reductions by spreading up to 10% of the R&D expenditures over three years from the first year when the incentives are applicable. It is worth noting that the tax deductions shall not exceed 30% of the payable business income taxes during a single year.

  If the instruments and equipment for R&D, experiments or quality inspections have a lifetime over two years or longer, it is possible to accelerate the depreciation within half of the years of service prescribed by the income tax codes for fixed assets. However, the final year less than 12 months over the shortened service years shall not be counted. Accelerated depreciation brings in tax benefits for fixed asset investments during the initial stage, that meets the requirements for new technologies and risk management by frontloading the equipment depreciation and creates a buffer for capital utilization.

(II) Deferred taxations on licensing/capitalization of intellectual properties

  The deferral of tax payments under the Act for Development of Small and Medium Enterprises is meant to avoid any adverse effect on the application of technological R&Ds by SMEs. As the equity stakes via capitalization of intellectual properties by inventors or creators are not cashed out yet and the subsequent gains may not be at the same valuation as determined at the time of capitalization, the immediate taxation may hinder the willingness to transfer intellectual properties. Therefore, assisting SMEs to release intellectual properties with potential economic value, the licensing and capitalization of intellectual properties is strongly encouraged. The tax expenses shall be deferred within SME or an individual acquires stakes on a non-publicly-listed company by transferring their intellectual properties.

  This is to stimulate the applications and sharing of relevant manufacturing technologies. When an SME or an individual acquires stakes on a non-publicly-listed company by transferring their intellectual properties, their tax expenses shall be deferred.

1. Taxpayers and requirements

(1) Qualifications for individuals or SMEs

  Article 35-1 of the Act for Development of Small and Medium Enterprises is applicable to SMEs and individual taxpayers. This is to foster the growth of SMEs and enhancement of industry competitiveness by encouraging R&D and innovations from individuals and start-ups. To promote the commercialize of intellectual properties in different ways, the Act for Development of Small and Medium Enterprises provides income tax incentives to individuals and SMEs transferring intellectual properties. The purpose is to encourage different paths to industry upgrades.

(2) Ownership of intellectual properties

  To ensure that the proceeds of intellectual property is linked to the activity of intellectual properties which perform by individuals or SMEs. Only the owners of the intellectual properties capitalized and transferred can enjoy the tax benefits.

  Intellectual properties referred to in the Act for Development of Small and Medium Enterprises are the properties with value created with human activities and hence conferred with legal rights. These include but are not limited to copyrights, patent rights, trademarks, trade secrets, integrated circuit layouts, plant variety rights and any other intellectual properties protected by laws[4].

(3) Acquisition of stock options

  The abovementioned tax incentives are offered to the individuals or SMEs who transfer intellectual properties to non-listed companies in exchange of their new shares. The income taxes on the owners of intellectual properties are deferred until acquisition of shares. These shares are not registered with the book-entry system yet. Before the transferrers of intellectual properties dispose or offload these shares, immediate taxations will impose economic burdens and funding challenges given the unknown prices of the eventual cash-out. Therefore, this legislation is only applicable to taxpayers who obtain options for new shares.

2. Taxpayers and requirements

(1) Transfer of intellectual properties

  According to Article 36 of the Copyright Act as interpreted by official letters issued by the Ministry of Finance, the transfer of intellectual properties is the conferring of intellectual properties to others, and the transferees access these intellectual properties within the scope of the transfer. In terms “transfer” of the first and second paragraphs of Article 36 does not include licensing[5], but such as granting, licensing and inheritance.

(2) Timing of income tax payments

  In general, the particular time that calculation of taxes payable is based on when the taxpayers acquire the incomes, less relevant expenses or costs. The taxes payable timing should be depending on when the taxpayers obtain the newly issued shares by transferring intellectual properties. However, the levy of income taxes at the time of intellectual property transfers and new share acquisitions may cause a sudden jump in taxes payable in the progressive system and thus a burden on the economics of SMEs and individuals concerned. Thus, to avoid disruptions to company operations or personal finance planning, Article 36 makes the exception for the incomes earned by subscribing to new shares as a result of transferring intellectual properties. Such incomes are not subject to taxes during the year when the shares are acquired, in order to mitigate the tax barriers concerned.

  In sum, the taxes shall be paid when such shares are transferred, gifted or distributed.

3. Tax incentive effects

  Article 35-1 of the Act for Development of Small and Medium Enterprises provides tax incentives to stimulate the mobilization of intellectual properties by smoothing out the impact of income taxes payable. This is applicable to (1) SMEs who can postpone the business income taxes payable from the year when they acquire new shares of non-listed companies by transferring the intellectual properties they own; (2) individuals who can postpone the individual income taxes payable from the year when they acquire new shares of non-listed companies by transferring the intellectual properties they own.

IV. Tax incentives aiming to improve the business environment

(I) Tax reductions for wages to additional headcounts

  SMEs are vital to the Taiwan, making uo 90% of the companies accounting in Taiwan, who employ more than 6.5 million people or 72.8% of the total workforce. Any economic recession may make it difficult for SMEs to maintain their labor costs given their smaller funding size and external challenges. This will cause higher unemployment rates and hurt the economy, which may cause impairment of the capacity or create a labor gap for SMEs, eventually shrink the industry scale. To lower the burden of operational and investment costs and learn from the legislatives in Japan and the U.S.[6], tax incentives are put in place as a buffer for adverse effects of external environments. The first paragraph of Article 36-2 of the Act for Development of Small and Medium Enterprises provide tax incentives for employee salaries of new headcounts based on the assessment on the economy over a time period. This is intended to encourage domestic investments and avoid the pitfall of direct government subsidies distorting salary structures. It is hoped that investments from SMEs can stimulate the momentum of economic growth.

1. Taxpayers

  The tax incentives under Article 36-2 of the Act for Development of Small and Medium Enterprises aim to assist SMEs through difficult times in an economic downturn. The threshold of the period time is based on the unemployment rate has been below the economic indicator predetermined for six consecutive months, which calculated by the Directorate General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics, Executive Yuan. In number of the unemployment rate has been below the economic indicator predetermined for six consecutive months, it is deemed that the business environment is not friendly to SMEs. In this instance, the Regulations for the Tax Preferences Provided to Small and Medium-sized Enterprises on Additional Wage Payment will trigger the tax incentives. The abovementioned economic indicator shall be published by the competent authorities once every two years.

  Moreover, to qualify for the tax incentives for new employees, SMEs should investing new ventures or instill new capital by at least $500,000[7] or hiring workforce at least two full-time headcounts compared with the previous fiscal year, that constitute at the Article 36-2 of the Act for Development of Small and Medium Enterprises, which aims to encourage SMEs investments.

2. Taxpayers

(1) Qualifications of additional headcounts

  As the dispatched human resource services typically meet temporary or short-term requirements and contractors do not enjoy employment security, this is not consistent with the spirit of the legislation to create jobs and reduce unemployment. Therefore, to avoid the one-time increase of headcounts from accessing the tax reductions during the year and the deterioration of labor relations in Taiwan. Tax incentive is not offered to the additional recruitment of part-time or contracted workers.

  Meanwhile, the tax incentives are only applicable to the additional employment of Taiwanese nationals, above or below 24 years old. A tax deduction of 50% based on annual wages is provided for the hiring of people below 24 years old. The extra tax deduction will stimulate young employment.

(2) Definition of additional employment

  The number of additional headcounts is based on permanent hires and calculated as the difference between the average number of Taiwanese employees covered by labor insurance per month throughout a single fiscal year or before and after the incremental increase of workforce. The conversion of regular contracts to indefinite employment in writing or signing up for indefinite R&D headcounts under the military service scheme can also be deemed as additional employment. It is worth noting, however, the new headcounts resulted from M&A activities or transfer between affiliated companies are excluded in this legislation.

(3) Calculation of wages

  Companies are also required to increase employment as well as the Comparable Wages. The comparable wages are estimated with the summation of 30% of the wages for the year before and after additional employment that based on the aggregate of the new hires comparable wages compared to the prior year. In other words, if the aggregate wages paid out are higher than comparable wages during the year, the companies concerned have indeed incurred higher personnel expenses. Tax incentives are thus granted because it improves the business environment and it is the purpose of this legislation.

3. Tax incentive effects

  The first paragraph of Article 36-2 of the Act for Development of Small and Medium Enterprises provides deductions of business income taxes during the year to qualified SMEs at an amount equivalent to 130% of the incremental wages paid to new headcounts who are Taiwanese nationals. The deductible amount is equivalent to 150% of the incremental wages if new headcounts are Taiwanese nationals below 24 years old.

(II) Tax incentives for companies that increase salaries

  Companies are subject to the effect of changes in the external factors such as global supply and demand on the international market, as well as the domestic business environment as a result of risk aversion from investors and expectation from customers. These uncertainties associated with investments and the rising prices for consumers will suppress the wage levels in Taiwan. This the reason why the second paragraph of Article 36-2 of the Act for Development of Small and Medium Enterprises grants tax deductions for the companies who increase salaries, to encourage companies share earnings with employees and enhance private-sector consumption. SMEs may deduct their business income taxes payable during the year up to 30% of salary increase for existing entry-level employees who are Taiwanese nationals, not as a result of statutory requirement for basic wage adjustments.

1. Taxpayers

  The tax incentives are applicable to SMEs as defined by the Regulations for the Tax Preferences Provided to Small and Medium-sized Enterprises on Additional Wage Payment and based on the same economic indicators previously mentioned.

2. Qualification for tax incentives

(1) Definition of entry-level employees

  The object of taxation under this act is the enterprise's average wage payment to the entry-level employees. The entry-level employees referred to in this act are authorized by the "Small and medium-sized enterprise employee salary increase, salary deduction act " that refers to employees of local nationality with an average monthly recurring salary below nt $50,000[8] whose were entered into indefinite employment contracts with SMEs. Through such conditions, the effect of tax concessions will be concentrated on promoting the salary level of grassroots staff and helping enterprises to cope with changes in the industrial environment.

(2) Average salaries

  The salaries to entry-level employees refer to the basic salaries, fixed allowances and bonuses paid on a monthly basis. Payment-in-kind shall be discounted based on the actual prices and included into the regular salaries. Meanwhile, regular salaries should be calculated with annualized averages, as this legislation seeks to boost salary levels. The regular salaries to entry-level employees during the year are estimated with the monthly number of entry-level employees during the same year. Only when the average basis salaries during the year are higher than those in the prior year can the tax incentives be applicable.

3. Tax incentive effects

  Applying this article, SMEs can deduct their business income taxes each year up to 130% of salary increase for existing entry-level employees who are Taiwanese nationals, which are not as a result of statutory requirement for basic wage adjustments. However, it is not allowed to double count the increased personnel expenses for new headcounts applicable to the first and second paragraphs of the same article.

V. Conclusions

  The funding scales and relatively weak financial structures are the factors that led SMEs be susceptible influenced by supply change dynamics and business cycles. To the extent that is suppressing the flexible in capital utilization for SMEs, also influencing on the sustainability of SMEs. Differ from government subsidies require budgeting, reviewing and implementations, there are complications regarding the allocation of administrative resources. Therefore, it is important to plan for tax incentives in order to stimulate R&D, innovation and job creation by SMEs and ultimately make SMEs more competitive.

  The tax incentives to SMEs amended in 2016 by the Small and Medium Enterprise Administration are known for the following:

(I) The lowering of thresholds for tax reductions of R&D expenses in order to encourage SMEs to invest in R&D activities with a “certain degree” of innovativeness and enhance the momentum for SMEs to upgrade and transform themselves;  

(II) Deferral the income taxations on the transfer of intellectual properties for equity, in order to encourage application and utilization of such intellectual properties, provide incentives for R&D programs or innovations by individuals and SMEs. This also creates a catalyst for industry upgrade;

(III) Tax deductions for the employment of new headcounts or the increase of employee wages during the time the economic indicators have reached a certain threshold and based on the health of the investment environment. This is to encourage company investments and capital increases in Taiwan and mitigate the volatility of economic cycles, in order to get ready for business improvement.

  The above tax incentive programs, i.e. tax deductions for R&D and innovations; deferral of taxations on the transfer of intellectual properties for equity; tax deductions for the hiring of new headcounts and the increase of employee salaries, are meant to boost the investment from SMEs and the competitiveness of SMEs. The Act for Development of Small and Medium Enterprises seeks to reduce tax burdens of SMEs actively investing for their future and competitive advantages. Tax incentives help to mitigate the adverse effect of the economy on the business environment. It is also the fostering of the sources of business income tax revenues for the government. This is the very purpose of the Act for Development of Small and Medium Enterprises.

 

 

[1]White Paper on Small and Medium Enterprises in Taiwan, 2018, p21 (November 9, 2018)
published by the Ministry of Economic Affairs

[2]Pursuant to the authorization conferred by Article 35 of the Act for Development of Small and Medium Enterprises, the Ministry of Economic Affairs has announced the Regulations Governing the Reduction of Expenditures for Small and Medium Enterprises Research and Development as Investment.

[3]Article 2 on the definition of SMEs. The abovementioned criterion is universally applicable to the Act for Development of Small and Medium Enterprises. It also applies to the eligibility of tax incentives to be introduced in this paper unless otherwise specified.

[4]Official Letter Economic-Business No. 10304605790, Ministry of Economic Affairs

[5]Official Letter Taiwan-Finance No. 10300207480, Ministry of Finance

[6]“Assessment of the Taxations under Article 35, Article 35-1, the first paragraph and the second paragraph of Article 36-2, the Act for Development of Small and Medium Enterprises” published by the Small and Medium Enterprise Administration, Ministry of Economic Affairs, pages 15-17, https://www.moeasmea.gov.tw/files/2670/93B9AF54-84E2-4293-A5CA-EA7DD9FAA05A(most recently browsed date September 9, 2019).

[7]Order of Interpretation Economics-Business No. 104004602510 from the Ministry of Economic Affairs: “Second, on the day when the economic indicator has reached the threshold, the paid-in capital of the new business should be at least NT$500,000 and there is no need to instill additional capital during the period when tax incentives are applicable. For existing businesses, there is no limitation on the number of capital increases during the applicable period. So long as the cumulative increase in capital reaches NT$500,000 and new employees are hired during the same fiscal year or during the prior fiscal year.”

[8]Paragraph 1, Article 2 of the Regulations for the Tax Preferences Provided to Small and Medium-sized Enterprises on Additional Wage Payment

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※Introduction to Tax Incentive Regime for SMEs,STLI, https://stli.iii.org.tw/en/article-detail.aspx?no=55&tp=2&i=168&d=8483 (Date:2024/06/20)
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The Research on ownership of cell therapy products 1. Issues concerning ownership of cell therapy products   Regarding the issue of ownership interests, American Medical Association(AMA)has pointed out in 2016 that using human tissues to develop commercially available products raises question about who holds property rights in human biological materials[1]. In United States, there have been several disputes concern the issue of the whether the donor of the cell therapy can claim ownership of the product, including Moore v. Regents of University of California(1990)[2], Greenberg v. Miami Children's Hospital Research Institute(2003)[3], and Washington University v. Catalona(2007)[4]. The courts tend to hold that since cells and tissues were donated voluntarily, the donors had already lost their property rights of their cells and tissues at the time of the donation. 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Thus, if the provider provides the cells to the researcher, after complex biotechnology contributing work, the original ownership of the cells should be deemed to have been eliminated, and there is no basis for providers to claim ownership.   However, since the development of cell therapy products involves a series of R&D activities, it still need to be clarified that who is entitled to the ownership of the final cell therapy products. According to Taiwan’s Civil Code, the ownership of product after contributing work should belongs to the contributing person. However, when there are numerous contributing persons, which person should the ownership belong to, might be determined on a case-by-case basis. 3. Conclusion   The biggest difference between cell therapy products and all other small molecule drugs or biologics is that original cell materials are provided by donors or providers, and the whole development process involves numerous contributing persons. Hence, ownership disputes are prone to arise.   In addition to the above-discussed disputes, United Kingdom Co-ordinating Committee on Cancer Research(UKCCCR)also noted that there is a long list of people and organizations who might lay claim to the ownership of specimens and their derivatives, including the donor and relatives, the surgeon and pathologist, the hospital authority where the sample was taken, the scientists engaged in the research, the institution where the research work was carried out, the funding organization supporting the research and any collaborating commercial company. Thus, the ultimate control of subsequent ownership and patent rights will need to be negotiated[8].   Since the same issues might also occur in Taiwan, while developing cell therapy products, carefully clarifying the ownership between stakeholders is necessary for avoiding possible dispute. [1]American Medical Association [AMA], Commercial Use of Human Biological Materials, Code of Medical Ethics Opinion 7.3.9, Nov. 14, 2016, https://www.ama-assn.org/delivering-care/ethics/commercial-use-human-biological-materials (last visited Jan. 3, 2021). [2]Moore v. Regents of University of California, 793 P.2d 479 (Cal. 1990) [3]Greenberg v. Miami Children's Hospital Research Institute, 264 F. Suppl. 2d, 1064 (SD Fl. 2003) [4]Washington University v. Catalona, 490 F 3d 667 (8th Cir. 2007) [5]Medical Research Council [MRC], Human Tissue and Biological Samples for Use in Research: Operational and Ethical Guidelines, 2019, https://mrc.ukri.org/publications/browse/human-tissue-and-biological-samples-for-use-in-research/ (last visited Jan. 3, 2021). [6]Wen-Hui Chiu, The legal entitlement of human body, tissue and derivatives in civil law, Angle Publishing, 2016, at 327. [7]id, at 341. [8]Okano, M., Takebayashi, S., Okumura, K., Li, E., Gaudray, P., Carle, G. F., & Bliek, J. UKCCCR guidelines for the use of cell lines in cancer research.Cytogenetic and Genome Research,86(3-4), 1999, https://europepmc.org/backend/ptpmcrender.fcgi?accid=PMC2363383&blobtype=pdf (last visited Jan. 3, 2021).

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 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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