Updates of Laws and Regulations Concerning the Taiwan Space Agency (Taiwan)

March 2023

Luke Hung and Albert Yen

Following the promulgation and implementation of the Space Development Act and its four sub-laws, namely the Regulation for Registration of Launch Vehicle and Space Craft, the Regulations for Launch Permit for Launch Vehicle and Handling of Space Accidents, the Regulations for Selection of the Land, Establishment, Operation, Management, and Compensation and Rewards for Launch Center, and Regulations for Provision and Compensation for Information Obtained by Private Sector with Spacecraft on January 20, 2022, the Act for the Establishment of the Taiwan Space Agency (hereinafter, the “Establishment Act“) was also promulgated in the same year and came into effect on January 1 of this year (2023).

In order to comply with the implementation of the Establishment Act, the National Science and Technology Council (hereinafter, the “NSTC“), which is the supervisory authority of the Taiwan Space Agency, has also formulated sub-laws such as the Regulations for the Appointment, Dismissal, and Supplementary Appointment of the Chairman, Directors, and Supervisors of the Taiwan Space Agency, the Guidelines for Handling Conflict-of-interest Violation by the Chairman, Directors, Supervisors, and People Holding Equivalent Positions of the Taiwan Space Agency, the Regulations for Performance Evaluation of the Taiwan Space Agency, and the Regulations for the Management, Use, and Profit Earning of the Public Property of the Taiwan Space Agency, which were promulgated and implemented on December 30, 2022.

After the implementation of the Establishment Act, the former National Space Organization, which was affiliated with the National Applied Research Laboratories, was restructured into the Taiwan Space Agency (hereinafter, the “TASA“).  The restructured TASA has significantly expanded its budget and staffing, and is responsible for formulating and implementing the national space program, promoting international cooperation and exchanges in space technology, promoting the space industry, upgrading and facilitating technologies, and other important policy objectives.

It is worth mentioning that when the Establishment Act was passed during the third reading by the Legislative Yuan on April 19, 2022, it was believed that although the restructured TASA had more flexibility in its operations, still related procurement could lead to corruption.  Therefore, an incidental resolution was adopted, requiring the TASA to draft and submit regulations on the implementation of the procurement operations to the NSTC for approval within three months following the implementation of the Establishment Act. The NSTC has approved the Regulations on the Implementation of the Procurement Operations of the Taiwan Space Agency (hereinafter, the “Regulations“) on March 10 this year, which has been announced by the TASA on its official website[1].

The Regulations provide the TASA with considerable flexibility in procurement operations.  For example, Article 5, Paragraph 3, Subparagraph 5 of the Regulations provides that in cases where “additional procurement or contract modification is necessary due to unforeseeable circumstances within the scope of the original tender, and a separate tender would result in significant inconvenience or technical or economic difficulties and cannot achieve the objectives of the contract if not handled by the original supplier,” the TASA may conduct restricted tendering without the limitation of “not exceeding 50% of the original main contract amount” as required by the Government Procurement Act.  Subparagraph 9 of the same article further stipulates that the TASA’s director or his authorized personnel may approve the “other special circumstances where restricted tendering may be conducted,” without the need to seek separate approval by the supervisory authority.

The Regulations include quite a few provisions that suppliers interested in participating in procurement activities of the TASA should pay close attention to.  For example, Article 12 of the Regulations allow the TASA to negotiate with suppliers on procurement specifications or requirements before bidding, on the contents of proposals during the evaluation phase, and on the terms of performance after awarding and before signing a contract, as long as this does not affect the overall efficiency and all suppliers are treated equally with written records prepared.  Another example is Article 16, Paragraph 2, Subparagraph 1 of the Regulations, which stipulate that if a supplier wishes to raise an objection concerning a dispute over the bidding, evaluation, or awarding for scientific research procurement, the supplier is required to file a written objection within 10 days following the occurrence or knowledge of the incident.  An objection raised beyond the period will not be accepted.

[1] https://www.tasa.org.tw/sseo/Tender/Up_File/國家太空中心採購作業實施規章_202303.pdf

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