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TDCC Kicks off Bilingual IR Platform to Facilitate Foreign Investor Decision Making

2019.03.18

To be in line with country's latest corporate governance guideline - the Corporate Governance Blueprint 2018~2020, the Taiwan Depository & Cleaning Cooperation(TDCC) held the launching ceremony of Investor Relations(IR) Platform, followed by an international forum with regard to Environmental Social Governance (ESG) this month. In addition to promoting the new Investor Relations Platform, TDCC has invited foreign and domestic lecturer to discuss issues such as shareholder, ESG and investor relations practices. Approximately 200 representatives of listed companies and over-the-counter companies, as well as investors from major domestic funds, insurance companies, domestic and foreign investment companies, has attended the forum, which is believed to have a positive effect on the development of the island’s capital market.

Wellington L. Koo, the Chairman of Financial Supervisory Commission(FSC), pointed out that a good cooperation-investor relationship helps companies understand the needs of investors, provide more information to investors, and open a dialogue mechanism between the two parties to obtain long-term support from investors for the company's operations, as an important part of promoting corporate governance.

The Chairman of TDCC, Xiu-ming Lin, stated that since the establishment of the electronic voting platform in 2009, TDCC has been working on relevant measures to facilitate investors. For instance, in 2014, it has cooperated with Broadridge, the world's largest electronic voting platform to provide the Straight Through Processing(STP) platform, a cross-border direct voting service for foreign investors of Taiwan. Efforts have been made to turn voting procedures into an automated process that makes sub-custodians execute votes more efficiently. In 2016, the laws have stipulated that listed companies with more than 10,000 shareholders or over NTD$2 billion of capitals are mandatory to adopt an e-voting service. By 2018, all the listed companies and OTC companies in Taiwan are able to cast their votes through the electronic voting mechanism, STOCKVOTE.

Originated from the e-voting platform, the newly-launched bilingual IR platform developed by the TDCC intends to provide updated corporate governance policies, contact persons and details of all listed companies. Communications, ESC and International Cooperation, Lin said, will be the axis scheme of the platform’s development. It is hoped that English-language financial reports, annual reports, and shareholder meeting agendas, which companies obliged to provide under Company Act and Securities and Exchange Act, on the platform would allow international investors to better understand their investments, as well as the risks.

TDCC will continue to launch more innovative services based on electronic voting system and expand the cooperation with more top overseas research institutions and service providers to help create corporate value and strengthen Taiwan's corporate governance, to achieve the ultimate goal of integrating with global capital market.

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Fiscal Discipline Act Receives Third Reading

2019.03.18

The Legislative Yuan approved a new bill, the Fiscal Discipline Act, this Tuesday on third reading which comprehensively consolidated the fiscal disciplines that were scattered in various regulations in the past. In short, the main points of the revision include: (1) the government at all levels needs to disclose the taxation expenditure assessment operation, (2) implement the public debt law, and (3) under the circumstance where a legal bill will result in government expenditure increase or income reduce substantially, it is necessary to specify the source of the funds. The new bill is expected the serve the function of stabilizing national finance.

With the inclination of maintaining a moderate scale of expenditure and ensure the sound development of the country's finances in the long term, both the ruling party and the opposing parties believed it is essential to establish a comprehensive fiscal discipline system in legal point of view. Although regulations and mechanisms for fiscal disciplines such as the Budget Act, the Public Debt Act, and the Public Debt Committee exist, the little practical effect was reckoned by the parliament. As a consequence, KMT lawmaker, Ming-zong Zeng and Shiz-bao Lai, as well as Rong-zhen Wang from DPP proposed the Draft for Fiscal Discipline Act and eventually received its third reading.

The Fiscal Disciplinary Act has five major points. The first is to regulate governments at all levels to implement the assessment of public tax expenditures in order to facilitate the supervision of public representatives. The second is to set up the conditions for the establishment exit mechanism for non-operating special funds; the measure is believed to solve the problem of remaining “Tiny Treasury” on a certain obsolete government project.

The third key point, borrowed the idea from the Maastricht Treaty, is to stipulate the regulation of debt financing. “Debt financing should be executed in accordance with the provisions of the Public Debt Act”, Wang said, “while the budgetary debt limit should not exceed 15% of the total amount of the total budget and special budget within a year.”

Wang went on to elaborate the early-warning mechanism as fourth key point of the bill. “The local government shall set up control mechanism for abnormal fiscal discipline,” he added, “which means government at all levels, that is, central government, special municipalities, counties, and townships, are obliged to regularly reveal public debt statements and debt repayment plans, moreover, the transfer to special funds shall disclose to the public.”

The last focus of the Fiscal Discipline Act is that, if a draft legal bill will significantly increase the financial pressure, the proposers of the bill, regardless from the executive or legislative department, must specify the financial source. “When the legislator or the ministry proposes a bill that will increase the financial burden or reduce the income, he must state in the bill where the financial resources are,” Zeng explained.

The KMT legislator Lai pointed out that the bill has its significance as legislation completed by this cross-party cooperation. The ruling and opposition legislators hope to supervise the central and local finances through a clearer and more centralized legal system in order to maintain the integrity of national finance and support national development needs.

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MOL: Night Shifts to be Regarded as Working Hours for Overtime Pay after 2022

2019.03.11

The Ministry of Labor (MOL) issued the revision of "Instructions for Institutions to Regulate Day or Night Shift Workers ". In addition to correcting some common doubts, it also set the sunset clause of the administrative rules, declaring the instruction would be abolished in 2022. To elaborate, so far, if the worker of day and night shifts is engaged in receiving calls, patrolling, etc., it is legal for employer only pay the allowance instead of the overtime, but from 2022 onwards, workers on day and night shift are entitled to claim it as working hours and received overtime pay as a result.

The deputy director of the Labor Conditions and Employment Equality Department of the Ministry of Labor, Wei-sen Huang, explained that the Instructions for Institutions to Regulate Day or Night Shift Workers was established in 1985. If an organization arranges labors on days or night shifts, conducting works such as receiving urgent documents, answering calls, patrolling business sites and emergency accident notification, contact or handling, ect., as the work density is comparatively low; so it has not been recognized as working hours over the years. No statutory overtime pay or holiday attendance pay, but only grants have been given to the employee.

According to Huang, besides the abolition if the instruction, the focus of this amendment is the adding the minimum amount of the recommended daily and night allowances, which shall not be less than the 1/240 of monthly basic salary per hour. For example, if one is on duty 6 pm until 8 am the next day and the current monthly basic salary is NTD$2,3100, then he shall be given (23,100/240)*14hrs= NTD$1,374.5 of allowance for the night shift.

In addition, if the institution asks female labor for the night shift, it is also necessary to refer to the requirements of the Labor Standard Act, based on which the employer is obliged to provide the necessary safety and sanitation facilities or measures. For pregnant or lactating periods, night shifts are prohibited.

The Ministry of Labor explained that even if the workers are in the day or night shift, it is still under the command and supervision of management empirically. Therefore, the government will gradually have the shift duty return to the concept of "work time" under the Labor Standard Act, but based on the consideration of the health and well-being of the workers and the manpower needs of the institutions, an appropriate grace period is required for the management to make the adjustment. Consequently, the MOL decided to set the date as the sunset clause; the Instructions for Institutions to Regulate Day or Night Shift Workers will become a thing of past from January 1, 2022.

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New Restrictions for Residential Chartering and Subletting Contract Revealed

2019.03.11

For the purpose of promoting the fairness and reasonableness of the lease contract and further protect the interests of the tenants from sublessors and landlords , the Ministry of Interior(MOI) recently revealed the “Mandatory Provisions to be Included in and Prohibitory Provisions of Residential Charter Contract” as well as the “Mandatory Provisions to be Included in and Prohibitory Provisions of Standard Form Contract for  Residential Subletting". The new restriction will be hit off on the first day of June  this year. In the future, chartering industry, landlords (or landladies) and tenants shall negotiate the contracts under the restriction of these two provisions to decrease disputes and secure transaction safety.   

Based on the press release by the Ministry, rental housing subletting business plays the role of middleman, which rent the house from the landlord or landlady and then sublet it to the tenant and is generally responsible for managing. The first recently made Provision mentioned above applies to contract between the owner of the house and the subleasing business, who, in addition to the obligations of the general lessee, responsible for the management, including implementation of daily maintenance and keeping records of rental place’s status. Furthermore, within 30 days after signing the sublease contract, the owner should be notified in writing of the scope of the sublet, the lease, the name of the tenant, etc. The subletting business shall assist the lessor in handling the lease, so that the landlord can save time and effort, and the rent collection is more secure.

To encourage the house owner to entrust the charter business, the “Mandatory Provisions to be Included in and Prohibitory Provisions of Residential Charter Contract” offers a tax concession. For instance, when the charter period is more than one year, the landlord is entitled to enjoy a maximum t of $6,000 tax free allowance per month, and the necessary depletion cost between NTD$6,000 to 20,000 will be applied to a 47% off tax discount. Evidently, the time and money saved are making it more cost-effective than directly renting out to the tenant, the MOI said.

On the other hand, the second Provision mentioned in paragraph one applies to the contract between the rental housing subleasing business and the tenant. The “Mandatory Provisions to be Included in and Prohibitory Provisions of Standard Form Contract for Rental Residence Subletting” not only included the relevant provisions of the general lease contract but also required the subleasing business to bear the responsibility of the business operator, including the obligation to provide the written document that the landlord agrees to sublease, the confirmation of the status of the lease, and the contents of the lease when signing the contract with the tenant. Carry out routine repairs and maintenance records as shall be always available and accessible to the tenants. If the landlord terminates the chartering contract in advance, the chartering industry is obliged to assist the tenant to preferentially rent other houses. Moreover, the tenants are not allowed to sublet the leased residence or transfer the lease to others.

To avoid the high electricity cost of collected by the chartering industry, and to seek improper benefits, if the electricity fee is paid by the tenant, the calculation shall not exceed the maximum amount of electricity used by the Tai-power Company in summer. The Ministry of the Interior also reminded the tenants that the electricity billing of the Tai-power Company is based on the electricity rate and the progressive rate. The renter can negotiate the rate with the landlord according to the shared electricity, suggested the MOI.

In terms of subletting contracts, in order to prevent the chartering industry from using the terms of the contract to restrict or deprive the tenants of their rights and interests, there are clauses that cannot be written, including provision to prohibit the tenants declaring the rental expenses, moving into the household registration, and transferring the tax burden, so that the two mandatory provisions could protect the rights of renters.

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Offshore Funds with 40% Chinese Holdings Permanently to be on Taiwan Market this October

2019.03.04

After October 2019, it is expected that the offshore funds which can permanently invest in Chinese stocks up to 40% of their net value will be available on the island’s market. The Financial Supervisory Commission(FSC) announced on the 26th of February that the offshore funds institutions qualifying "Plan to Encourage Stronger Business Ties in Taiwan for Offshore Funds" in June this year will have the alternative to choose one single offshore fund to permanently relax the investment in the mainland ceiling to 40%, or, they have the option to maintain the status quo, which is open all the offshore funds to invest up to 40% of the mainland within a year.

The FSC has adopted the “Plan to Encourage Stronger Business Ties in Taiwan for Offshore Funds” since February 2013. Under the terms of the Plan, if an offshore fund entity meets the assessment criteria for (a) increasing its investment in Taiwan; (b) assisting in upgrading the scale of asset management in Taiwan; and (c) improving the quality of its services to Taiwan investors, it will benefit from the related incentive measures. The key incentives under the plan include the following: (1) requirements regarding the minimum size of a master agent's staff can be relaxed; (2) reviews of applications to launch offshore funds can be expedited; (3) limits on the permissible number of offshore funds per application can be relaxed; and (4) an offshore fund institution is allowed to introduce new types of funds to the Taiwan market.

The FSC has relaxed upper limit for ordinary offshore funds from 10% to 20%of their net asset value in the Chinese equities market this January. For those participated in “Plan to Encourage Stronger Business Ties in Taiwan for Offshore Funds” last year, the government granted the ceiling from 30% to 40%. Yet as the seven offshore funds institutions, including Alliance Bernstein Taiwan Ltd, Allianz Global Investors Taiwan Ltd, Schroder Investment Management Taiwan, Eastspring Investments, JPMorgan Asset Management Taiwan Ltd, Fidelity Investment Taiwan Ltd and Franklin Templeton Investments, permitted to join the plan already enjoyed the 30% rate since last October, the new fund consisting 40% preferential rate of their net asset value in the Chinese market permanently will hit on the road this October at the earliest. Funds that apply for Plan to Encourage Stronger Business Ties in Taiwan for Offshore Funds this year in June and obtain the permission in September will entitle to benefit from the new policy.

According to the deputy of Securities and Futures Bureau under FSC, the policy is initiated by the suggestion of securities industry. As the FSC originally turned a green light on permitting offshore funds institutions under Plan to Encourage Stronger Business Ties in Taiwan for Offshore Funds to invest mainland China for 40% within a year, if the institutions fail to meet the condition of this incentive program in the forthcoming year, all offshore funds that invest more than 20% in China must be removed, in other word, to suspend the acceptance of new purchases. Hence, the industry hope the government can allow a single fund that can permanently invest in the mainland ceiling to 40%.

Meanwhile, to encourage small-and-medium Funds to take part in the Plan to Encourage Stronger Business Ties in Taiwan for Offshore Funds, the FSC relax three thresholds. The first is the size of the money market fund will not be considered when calculating the top one-third of the management assets. This could remove the barrier of large domestic investment institutions which foreign fund players find it difficult surpass in the short term.

The second measure is asking the original offshore fund institutions to maintain a positive growth rate of the market scale within a year, while the old standard required the institutions to have a 5% or more of the growth rate of the market scale on average.

The third is to add a condition that the overseas fund institutions manage assets of more than 10 billion NTD in Taiwan and exceed the average investment amount of the overseas funds of the institution for within a year. That is to say, if a foreign fund agency manages over of 12 billion NTD of offshore funds form Taiwanese investor, the agency then meets the standard and enjoy the benefit that the government has offered under Plan to Encourage Stronger Business Ties in Taiwan for Offshore Funds.

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FSC Amends “Incentive Plan for SITE” to Motivate Small-and-medium Size Investment Enterprises

2019.03.04

In order to encourage investment institutions jointly participate in the development of the asset management market in Taiwan, and to enhance the quality and scope of services provided in Taiwan, the FSC issued another ruling on February 26, under which the restriction imposed on the applying Incentive Plan for Securities Investment Trust Enterprise (SITE) is amended to be more flexible. In summary, those who meet the criteria may apply for raising a credit fund that is not subject to the current investment securities and other restrictions, so can even apply for issuing ETF links funds other than Taiwan Stock. FSC hopes to spur the interest of small-and-medium size investment institution to apply for the plan.

A securities investment trust enterprise meeting the conditions set forth in the Incentive Plan for SITE may specify the types, scope, and a ratio of domestic/offshore securities in its trust deed upon the FSC’s approval for its own investment strategy purpose. This will not be subject to relevant investment restrictions set forth in the said regulations. For example, an emerging market bond fund can invest 40% of the high-yield debt limit, and this is not subject to the restriction.

The FSC has now allowed investment enterprise to apply for issuing the ETF Link Fund under Incentive Plan for SITE. The ETFs that have been invested in the investment business are no longer limited to the domestic component ETF, that is, for example, the bond ETF can also be linked to the fund.

Another the key point of amendment is the adjustment of R&D evaluation index. Adding a condition that the staff number of investment research teams must account for 20% of the company's total number of employees will benefit small-and-medium size securities investment trust enterprise when applying for the incentive project. Couple with this, the FSC deleted the previous requirement of an annual growth rate of 5% for market scale and simply requires them to grow year by year.

Regarding the evaluation index for self-investment ability, for those who have a certain economic scale and a significant number of investment research teams, the FSC set up the benchmark of having 75 personnel investment research team on average in three years. However, the requirements for the growth of the number of personnel and the fund's are deleted. Enterprises having the asset size of the rank the top 1/4 of the investment industry in Taiwan in the latest one year are all eligible to apply for the Incentive Plan for SITE.

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J.Y. Interpretation No. 775: Unconstitutional to Increase Punishment for Recidivist Criminals in any Case

2019.03.05

On February 22, the judicial department issued J.Y. Interpretation No. 775, where the Grand Justices found regulation of the principal punishment for any kind of recidivism shall be increased up to one half under Article 47 of Criminal code has contradict to the Constitution because it violated personal liberty severely and the constitutional principle of proportionality excessively.

One of the KMT lawmakers, Zhi-yang Wu, thus claimd that the J.Y. Interpretation No. 775 is logical yet it injures the sense of justice as the public often condemn light sentence against the recidivists offenders. Wu also questioned whether the new J.Y. Interpretation will affect the calls for increasing punishment for drunk driving and child abuse recently. The Secretary-General of Judicial Yuan, Tai-long Lu gave out negative answer firmly.

Another legislator, Mei-Nu Yu, stated the J.Y. Interpretation No. 775 is very difficult to understand because of the existence of various legal terms. She suggested the Judicial Yuan go with the flow and publish for dummies propaganda or try online streaming in order to convey correct information to the general public, like the way Executive Yuan did to unveil “The Enforcement Act of Judicial Yuan Interpretation No. 748”

“The time period from the announcement of the constitutional interpretation to the press conference is very short, we will try our best to do it” Lu replied; he took some cases as an example to explain the Interpretation during the press conference held on February 22.

Lu emphasized that the Grand Justices believes that increasing punishment for those who intentionally commits an offense with a minimum punishment of imprisonment within five years after having served a sentence of imprisonment did not violate the principle of double jeopardy, hence it is constitutional. However, increasing punishment against recidivist under any circumstances on the basis of Article 47 of Criminal code, even if the recidivist is entitled to apply for Article 59, which stipulated that a punishment may be reduced at discretion if the circumstances of the commission of the offense are so pitiable that even the minimum punishment is considered too severe, has contradicted to the principle of proportionality and considered as a severe violation to personal liberty.

On top of that, Article 48, regulating that after the judgment has been finalized and an offender is found to be a recidivist, his punishment shall be increased in accordance with the provisions of the preceding article unless the fact is revealed after his sentence is fully served or his punishment is pardoned, violate another fundamental legal doctrine, ne bis in idem. It is a legal concept originating in Roman law that no legal action can be instituted twice for the same cause of action. 

The Ministry of Justices shall revise the provision of the law within two years while the judges shall discrete on a case-by-case basis to decide whether to increase to punishment for recidivists violators, before the amendment to Article 47, according to the constitutional interpretation.

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Cabinet Unveils Draft Bill on Gay Marriage

2019.03.05

The Executive Yuan has examined and approved the draft bill of same-sex marriage on the 20th of February, officially titled  “The Enforcement Act of Judicial Yuan Interpretation No. 748,”, in order to avoid causing disputes between supporters and opponents of same-sex marriage. This is the first bill named after a constitutional interpretation.

The draft bill, initiated by the Ministry of Justice, consists of 27 articles on same-sex unions designed to protect the rights of same-sex couples to pursue a common life and permanent, intimate relationship.

The bill first stipulates legislative purpose mentioned above and defines gay marriage, then restricts that both parties to same-sex unions must be at least 18 years old, while the civil code requires that the female party in a marriage need only be age 16 currently. Minister of Justice, Tsai Ching-hsiang, indicated that the specific part of the civil code would be altered to set the same legal marriage age for men and women. Article 4 to 18 regulated the requisite procedure, elements, and effect with regard to the establishment and termination of homosexual union respectively.

When asked by reporters at an Executive Yuan news conference why the law did not provide equal adoption rights for same-sex couples, said the topic of adoption was not covered under the high court’s interpretation, Tsai answered that, though adoption is not included in the scope of the judge’s interpretation of the constitution, as a practical concern, one same-sex partner might have biological children, so the Ministry wrote conditional adoption of a partner’s children in the bill.  It is noteworthy that same-sex couples are still unable to adopt non-blood relatives so far. Moreover, the legal relationship to a partner’s relatives, or in-laws, is different from heterosexual couples under the civil code.

On the other hand, most of the regulations are similar to opposite-sex marriage guaranteed in the Civil Code. Provisions for the use of civil law general rules, obligation and other regulations other than civil law regarding spouses, or relationship built on spouse were written in Article 22 to 24. Therefore, like heterosexual marriage, polygamy, bestiality, and incestuous relationships are prohibited. Liability for criminal adultery may also be expanded to same-sex marriages in the future amendment.

Finally, in Article 26, there is a vague reference to “religious freedom” that the supporters of gay marriage fears may permit employment discrimination and it is yet to be discussed.

The draft bill has also received massive criticism from advocacy groups on both parties of the marriage equality debate. Without a doubt, the details of the bill will face stiff opposition in Legislative Yuan. There is a long road to marriage equality on the island.

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MOEA Focuses on Three Types of Bill Promotion for Legislative Yuan’s New Session

2019.02.21

As the new session of the Legislative Yuan started on February 15, the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) revealed three directions on promoting bills, which are the draft amendments to the Renewable Energy Development Regulations, Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership and Industrial Innovation Regulations.

Minister of Economics, Rong-jin Shen, revealed the sorts of the three major promotion bills before the Lunar New Year Holiday.  Shen said that revised draft of the Renewable Energy Development Regulations proposed last year, relaxed the regulation on installing small hydraulic power and the third type of solar photovoltaic plant; such non-large-scale devices can be applied to less complicated procedures. Moreover, major electric users are obliged to install a certain portion of the renewable energy power plant, which will help promote the construction of related devices. The draft also opens up the renewable energy industry to freely convert, use,  purchase or trade with private enterprises, so that the industry is more willing to sell electricity to the relatively short-term private enterprises under the contract, and activate the green energy market transactions. At present, the draft has passed first reading and it is still pending for negotiation between parties.

To be in line with the preparations for joining CPTPP, MOEA previously promoted 12 amendment bills. The remaining four are still pending before the Legislative Yuan, including the Patent Act, the Copyright Act, the Trademark Act and the Digital Communication Act, among which the Patent Act, the Copyright Act and the Trademark Act are waiting for second reading, and the digital communication law is still pending for negotiation.

The draft amendment to the Industrial Innovation Regulations is in response to the original bill which will lost effect at the end of this year. The Ministry of Economic Affairs revised part of the provisions in January, extended the implementation period for another 10 years, and added smart machinery, 5G and talent cultivation deduction projects into the bills. Additionally, the current research and development would enjoy a 5% of deduction rate based on the MOE’s version of the draft. However, the Ministry of Finance, in charge of taxation, still have discrepancies with MOEA. In fact, the Ministry of Finance opposing the increase in talent cultivation offsetting, and the R&D investment deduction was yet to be discussed.

The two ministries were invited to negotiate in the first joint session of the new year held by Executive Yuan and the Ninth Legislative Yuan on February 18 to discuss priority legislative bills. Besides the aforementioned bills proposed by MOEA, around 40 high-priority bills were discussed, including drafts regarding the implementation of same-sex marriage, increased punishments for drunk driving, and preventing child abuse. 

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Paired Living Kidney Donations Exchange Legalized in Taiwan

2019.02.21

The Ministry of Health and Welfare (MOHW)  announced new regulations regarding living kidney exchanges between two pairs of incompatible donors and recipients who are bloody related in order to increase the possibility of successful transplant for recipients waiting for kidney transplants and to improve the survival rate and quality of life of patients with end-stage renal disease. Appropriate kidney donors, under their own will, could exchange and undergo donation transplant surgery after obtaining the organ transplant medical ethics committee’s approval.

According to the statistics, 7,460 Taiwanese candidates have been waiting for kidney transplants last year. Nevertheless, there were only 181 deceased kidney donors and 163 living donations between family members. Despite the trend of living donation increases gradually, thousands of patients have struggle waiting for transplants. It is believed that the new regulations increase patients’ chances of receiving kidney donations, as relatives who were willing to donate their kidneys but were incompatible with the patient had to give up the opportunity to help family members in the past.

Following an amendment to the Human Organ Transplantation Act  stipulating that living-donations are limited to fifth-degree relatives in 2015, an exception to the rule was made for kidneys that permits more than two pairs of living kidney donors and recipients who do not have matching blood types to exchange donors, so that each recipient can get a kidney from the donor with a compatible blood type.

The two pairs of donors-recipients living kidney donations from non-family members will be strictly reviewed by the hospital to prevent money transaction behind the scene.

Prior to performing the operation, each patient shall report to the medical ethics committee of the hospital for the first medical review and complete the registration form in the organ donation transplant registration system.

If the match is found, the hospitals of two or multiple parties will conduct a cross-assessment, which is in line with the donation and the person to be transplanted, and the second review will be conducted by the medical ethics committee of the hospital at the same time.

After being reviewed and approved by the hospital's medical ethics committee twice, the case will be sent to the central competent authority for final approval.

The paired exchange kidney donation surgeries must take place at the same time, donors and recipients may change their minds and withdraw their consent at any point before the surgery.

The registration and matching operation of the live kidney exchange donation transplant operation will be handled by the Taiwan Organ Registry and Sharing Center’s platform, where the relevant operation standards and implementation details can be consulted.

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Shih-lin District Court Opens Online Sign Up for Mock Jury Trials

2019.02.11

To be in line with Judicial Yuan’s policy on promoting the jury system, the Taiwan Shih-lin District Court in Taipei has planned to hold the first mock court of the year in April. Online registration has been available since February 1 for the public to participate in the selection.

The draft of the National Jury Act was announced by the Judicial Yuan on November 30, 2017. On January 16 last year, the Judicial department officially turned a green light on the laws of lay participation in the criminal trial system. It was later approved by the Executive Yuan April 25 and sent to Legislative Yuan afterward.  The nation’s jury system is comprised of three professional judges and six jury members. The applicable cases are the crime of imprisonment for the minimum penalty of 7 years, and the intentional crime resulted in death.

Shih-lin District Court has previously held two criminal trial mock court for Taiwanese jury to participate in. Seven celebrities, including actor Chang Ting-hu and director Yee Chin-yen, were invited as “Celebrity Group” to observed the quasi- jury system and gave out opinions from different perspectives.

According to Shih-lin District Court, the first mock court of 2019 will hold its selection process on 24 of April, then the trial procedures and seminars will be held on the 25 and 26 of the same month. The registration would be open on the Internet, telephone, fax from February 1st. Six national juries and two backup juries, randomly chosen by the computer, is obliged to attend the trial and the discussion afterward.

The press release mentioned that, R.O.C. citizens, aged above 23, with at least high school degree or equivalent diploma, residing in the jurisdiction of the local court for more than 4 months, and capable of speaking and listening Mandarin, are qualified to enroll as the jury of the mock court. Yet ex-convict, military, police officers and lawyers are exceptions to the rules based on the provisions of the draft of National Jury Act. The selected jury would be given an NTD$2,500 of attendance fee per day.

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National Development Fund Refines “Startup Entrepreneur Angel Investment Program”

2019.02.11

For the sake of ameliorating the investment environment of new ventures and improving the domestic angel investment, the National Development Fund(NDF) of the Executive Yuan launched the “Startup Entrepreneur Angel Investment Program” on March 2017 and invested NTD$ 1 billion for 5 years to provide initial working capital for start-ups in partnership with angel investors, hoping that angel investors could provide their counseling and networking experiences for new ventures. To assist with the start-up business to obtain the funds needed for the operation, the NDF adjusted the project in several manners on January 30, 2019.

1.  Increasing the investment amount for individual cases:  from NTD$10 million to 20 million.

2.  Relaxing the subject of application:  if the review committee agrees, the startups no longer require to find angel investors in order to apply for the program.

3.  Simplify the small-scale investment process: if the angel investor applies for an investment amount of less than NTD$3 million and the investment amount is not lower than the national development fund, the national development fund will directly invest in it and there is no need to send the application to the review committee for approval.

4.  Adjusting the withdrawal period of the fund: before the refinement , the withdrawal period of the fund is 7 years. The period could be extended in the future after review committee’s approval.

The Startup Entrepreneur Angel Investment Program has reviewed 16 new ventures so far, and approve of 11 new ventures (through a rate of 68.75%). The amount of investment by the National Development Fund has reached NT$98.2 million, while the folk angel investors have invested around NT$89 million. Seven of the ventures invested are domestic companies while the other 4 are overseas businesses. The industries include electronic technology, e-commerce, biotechnology, and leisure industries.

To maximize the implementation efficiency of this program, the NDF, linked with domestic and foreign angel investors, accelerators or nurturing institutions, will keep on inviting investors and entrepreneurs to apply for the project. It is hoped that the investors will break industrial and geographical restrictions and invest the essentials funds for initial operations for new ventures. It is believed that the program, as an incentive for angel investors to invest, would be a key enabler to help new ventures become sustainable enterprises.

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