(Formerly the Office of the Chief Scientist and MATIMOP)

New R&D Agreement with Taiwan


JERUSALEM. April 20th, 2015 – A new R&D agreement between Israel and Taiwan was signed today between the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Tel Aviv (TECO) and the Israel Economic and Cultural Office in Taipei (ISECO), during the visit of the Chief Scientist of the Israel Ministry of Economy Avi Hasson during his visit to China and Taiwan. The agreement is expected to boost cooperation between the economies of Israel and Taiwan, and is the first such agreement Taiwan has signed. The authorities responsible for implementing the agreement will be the Office of the Chief Scientist at the Israeli Ministry of Economy through MATIMOP and DoIT, the Department of Industrial Technology of the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) of Taiwan.

Avi Hasson: "As far as Taiwan is concerned, this agreement is groundbreaking - it is the first agreement of its kind Taiwan has signed. The agreement was also aided by the fact that Taiwanese industry holds Israeli innovative technologies in high esteem and many Taiwanese companies have already expressed interest in beginning to work on joint projects with Israeli companies."

The agreement was signed on April 20th in the presence of Chief Scientist Avi Hasson and Taiwanese Minister of Economic Affairs John Chen-Chung Deng. In recent years, Israel has signed several such agreements, but only recently with important countries like Japan and Mexico. While for Israel such agreements are more common, for Taiwan it is groundbreaking since it would be the first such agreement Taiwan has signed.

The government of Taiwan invests significant resources in research and development and has already in the past financed cooperation in academic research but there was never government support for cooperation in R&D between private Taiwanese companies and foreign companies. Taiwan today is in increasing competition with its Asian neighbors: Japan, South Korea and China, and its only way of maintaining a competitive edge is by encouraging innovation. Accordingly, the country has begun directing more resources to research and development, but this is a lengthy process and there is no doubt that cooperation with Israel can help Taiwanese technology move forward by leaps and bounds.

The economies of Israel and Taiwan are not competitive by nature but rather complementary. Taiwan has a trade-oriented economy and is a world power in engineering and quality manufacturing, while Israel is a world leader in innovation. For this reason, possibilities for cooperation in research and development are diverse and numerous. The agreement has great importance since the joint governmental support by Taiwan and Israel is expected to significantly increase cooperation.

Head of Economic and Trade Mission in Taiwan and the Philippines, Doron Hemo, said: "In recent years, we have seen increasing interest from Taiwanese companies in what is happening in Israel. Taiwan today understands what was perhaps not clear four or five years ago – that Israel has much to offer in innovation and hi-tech and in fact both economies can be mutually beneficial. As evidence, we have seen in recent months repeated visits by flagship Taiwanese companies in Israel and we expect to see an increase in cooperation and visits from the Israeli industry to Taiwan." Hemo added that the agreement itself is immeasurably important for both economies and was certain that we will very soon witness joint R&D projects which will further increase bilateral trade.

Head of the Israeli Bureau for Economy and Culture in Taiwan, Simona Halperin, emphasized that "Taiwan has in recent years discovered Israel as a powerhouse of innovation and entrepreneurship, complementary to Taiwan's economic prowess as a world power in engineering and manufacturing. It is no secret that Taiwan is boarding the train several years after its neighbors - technology powers and competitors in eastern Asia like Korea and Japan - since the concept of government funding for R&D for Taiwanese and foreign companies is new to this country. On the other hand, in light of the fact that Taiwan has been looking in recent years for a way to reinvigorate its growth and return to the forefront of the Asian tigers, we expect this agreement to enable many opportunities for cooperation between companies and to become a stepping stone not just for bilateral cooperation but also for opening new markets for Israeli companies in Asia - from China to southeast Asia."

The leading industries in Taiwan today are knowledge-based industries, and several Taiwanese companies are world leaders in their fields: Foxconn, the world's largest manufacturer of electronic components and one of Apple's leading suppliers; HTC, a manufacturer of smart phones and tablets; TSMC, the world's largest chip producer; ASUS and Acer, manufacturers of computers, tablets and smart phones. Taiwan also holds a significant share of the overall world production of electronic components: 20% of the global semiconductor market, a quarter of the world's LCD screen production and almost 90% of laptops.

Already today, some of the above-mentioned Taiwanese companies and others are implementing Israeli technological innovations in their products and now this trend is expected to be significantly strengthened. Today, trade between Israel and Taiwan is relatively low and stands at $1.3 billion, despite the great potential. After the agreement is signed, trade ties are also expected to increase.

Following the agreement, a call for proposals will be published for Israeli and Taiwanese companies to jointly submit proposals for industrial R&D projects that will be supported financially by the Taiwanese and Israeli governments.

For more information:
Headline Media | Foreign Media Adviser to the Economy Ministry
Aaron Kliner - ministryofeconomy@headline-media.com