Taiwanese Premier Mao Chi-kuo instructed the Executive Yuan’s Office of Science and Technology (OST) to formulate and promote a bioeconomy development plan to boost Taiwan’s relevant production value and to enhance citizens’ health and welfare.
Bioeconomy has a wider scope than just biotechnology, the premier pointed out. Take pharmaceuticals, for instance: Because certain drugs are more suitable to the ethnic-Chinese markets, such as those for hepatitis and liver diseases, this industry has a great development niche, and it is important that such drugs get the certifications of mainland China and Taiwan.
The premier, who was presiding over an ad hoc meeting, made these remarks after he was briefed by the OST on the development of Taiwan’s biotechnology industries. The OST is to formulate the bioeconomy development plan by forging consensus from various sectors, including academia, industry and research institutes, and promote it via the 2015 BioTaiwan Committee platform, Mao said. The plan must be completed by the end of this year and submitted to the Executive Yuan for approval.
This plan is linked in some areas with Productivity 4.0 and suits Taiwan’s aging society, the premier noted. He thus enjoined the OST to proactively coordinate with relevant ministries such as the Ministry of Science and Technology, Ministry of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Health and Welfare (MOHW), and Council of Agriculture to enhance cross-ministerial collaboration and to apply biotechnology extensively in such fields as agriculture, industry and health.
The OST pointed out that since 2009 the government has successively promoted the Diamond Promotion Plan for the Biotechnology Industry and the Taiwan Biotech Industries Takeoff Action Plan. By establishing the Food and Drug Administration under the MOHW and the Taiwan Supra Integration and Incubation Center as well as strengthening commercialization of research and development (R&D) capabilities, the government hopes to promote new innovative drugs and commercialize medical equipment R&D and medical management services to raise the nation’s biotechnology capabilities.
These measures have helped double the nation’s biomedical industry production value to more than NT$280 billion (US$8.93 billion), while the number of related companies listed on the Taiwan stock and over-the-counter markets has rapidly risen to 91. Moreover, private-sector investments have increased every year and in 2014 alone amounted to NT$45.8 billion (US$1.46 billion).
The OST stated that because demographic aging will result in increased medical costs, and in order to maintain the stability of Taiwan’s food supply, it is important for the nation to exploit its competitive edge in information and communications technology to add value to its agriculture, industry, and health businesses.
The Taiwan bioeconomy development plan will encompass pharmaceutical manufacturing, medical equipment, elderly care, foods and agriculture, among other fields. It will focus on enhancing industrial technologies, cultivating cross-field talents, adjusting and harmonizing laws and regulations, assisting with funding, and promoting industrialization and globalization in these sectors.