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NCSIST, private sector form company for defense technology transfers

2017/12/04 16:41:09

Chen Chung-ji (陳中吉/CNA file photo)

Taipei, Dec. 4 (CNA) The National Chung-Shan Institute of Science and Technology (NCSIST) and the private sector have formed a joint venture company to transfer technological know-how from NCSIST to the commercial market, Ministry of National Defense (MND) spokesman Chen Chung-ji (陳中吉) said Monday.

The company was established in late November to transfer the results of defense technology and weapons research and development by NCSIST, a government defense research and production agency, for the mass production of precision spare parts and to push related products in international markets, according to a Liberty Times report published Monday.

While confirming the report, Chen said the company aims to promote the development of the domestic defense industry and drive the growth of research and development of weapons and technological infrastructure in both the public and private sectors.

The project has received strong support from Defense Minister Feng Shih-kuan (馮世寬), Chen told reporters.

However, he declined to reveal further details about the company citing protection of trade secrets.

According to the newspaper report, NCSIST's investment of about NT$30 million (US$1 million) gives it less than 40 percent of the joint venture and no operational rights, though it does have several seats on the board of directors.

Meanwhile, ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Wang Ting-yu (王定宇) said that given the private sector holds a 60 percent stake in the company, NCSIST has no control of its profitability.

Wang also questioned whether the company will become another Taiwan Goal Corp., a firm that was secretly set up in January 2008 with shareholders that included the MND and state-owned firms under the Ministry of Economic Affairs.

The launch of Taiwan Goal drew flak, with lawmakers asking whether it had been registered as a private arms procurement firm to avoid legislative oversight, with the MND controlling less than 50 percent, although most of its funding is believed to have come from the MND and state-owned companies.

It was disbanded later that year amid controversy over public funding and private sector profits.

Meanwhile, Kuomintang (KMT) Legislator Chiang Chi-chen (江啟臣) characterized the company as the product of a backroom deal because NCSIST, as a non-profit institution, invested government funds but failed to make its finances transparent.

NCSIST deputy head Ma Wan-june (馬萬鈞) said in response that the new company will focus on technical cooperation and not be involved in arms deals.

NCSIST's main role is to provide technology while private companies will be responsible for production, Ma added.

(By Lu Hsin-hui and Evelyn Kao)