Tue, Oct 07, 2003 - Page 4 News List

Biotechnology park tentatively approved

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

In a bid to boost the biotechno-logical edge of the agriculture sector, the Executive Yuan yesterday tentatively approved NT$8.3 billion for the establishment of a biotechnology park in Pingtung County, pending the final approval by the legislature.

"By 2014, we hope to see the park's annual production value reach NT$18 billion and annual revenues generated by patented agricultural products exceed NT$2 billion. We hope to create 8,000 job opportunities," Lee Chien-chuan (李健全), vice chairman of the Council of Agriculture, said at a press conference yesterday.

Lee made the remark after Minister without Portfolio Hu Shan-jen (胡勝正) reviewed two draft bills for the establishment of the agricultural biotechnology park and the organic structure of the bureau in charge of the park.

Lee said that the government is duty-bound to help the agricultural sector upgrade its competitive edge.

"We've been drawing up the two drafts since September 2001 after the Economic Development Advisory Conference concluded in August 2001 that the government should establish an agricultural biotechnology park within six to 12 months," Lee said.

As the Cabinet tentatively approved the two drafts yesterday, Lee said that the council hopes to open an office on Oct. 12 to coordinate the establishment of the park. If all goes well, the council hopes to see 120 companies move into the park's first-phase Haifeng base by next February. The estimated cost of building the base is NT$5.6 billion. The second-phase Taiyuan base (太源) is expected to cost NT$2.7 billion.

The council is hammering out a preferential scheme to encourage companies to relocate to the 350-hectare park, which the council is leases from Taiwan Sugar Corp, Lee said.

"We're thinking of providing land, facilities, professional talents, financial loans, material and rent at a preferential rate," Lee said.

Tax exemptions on equipment are also being considered.

The annual production of Tai-wan's agricultural biotechnology industry amounts to NT$3.2 billion, or less than 1 percent of the overall agricultural sector.

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