Internationalisation Group Makes Quick Start

Description: Newsletter No. 4,November '99

F ourteen of the 15 Members of TAFTIE want to participate in the ad hoc group on "Impact of Internationalisation of Businesses on R&D Support", its first meeting heard on 23 June 1999.

The Board of Directors anticipated strong interest in the topic, when they made it one of TAFTIE's strategic activities for the years ahead, after the ad hoc group's formation was announced (TAFTIE news, June 1999).

To obtain better insight into the issues involved, TAFTIE member organisations filled in a questionnaire before the group's second meeting on 10 September 1999. It set out 10 scenarios, covering a wide range of issues, such as:

the difference in treatment accorded to national and domestic companies ;
the financial support to projects for which R&D activities take place in the home country while production is abroad;
foreign subcontractors as part of the project; and,
intellectual property rights residing abroad.

The responses, discussed by the 11 participants at the second meeting, gave a good first impression of the various attitudes of the TAFTIE member organisations. It became obvious that, generally speaking, if some sort of economic benefit can be proved to accrue to a country as a result of an R&D project, that country will consider giving financial support. However, if R&D leads to production abroad, countries are very reluctant to fund an R&D project. In other words, national concerns are the main consideration – not surprisingly, since national taxpayers' money is involved.

However, there have been cases where one country refuses to support an R&D project because production would be in another European country, while an R&D project in the other country is rejected because production was due to be in the first country. Yet funding for these two projects would, in the end, have benefited both countries. Should countries, or TAFTIE organisations, sit down together in such situations to see whether or not they want to make exceptions to their rules and fund both projects? Or should there be some sort of permanent forum for discussing such matters?

The group members plan to formulate preliminary answers to these and other questions at their next meeting in November. They also plan to report to the Board on a proposal for next year’s work programme.

If you want more information on the work of the Impact of Internationalisa- tion of Businesses on R&D Support ad hoc group, you may contact the chairman or one of your own participating colleagues.

Maarten Sileghem, IWT, chairman,
tel. +32 2 20 90 900, e-mail
Françoise Lambert, ANVAR
José Pellón, CDTI
Owen McBreen, Enterprise Ireland
Herwig Spindler, FFF
Staffan Håkansson, NUTEK
Gyöngyi Varszegi, OMFB
Jon Hekland, RCN
Jonathan Slow, Scottish Enterprise
Piet Dees, Senter
Jacques Evrard, Technopol Brussels
Jorma Helin, Tekes
Medar Okte, TTGV
Wolfgang Gessner, VDI/VDE-IT
Joanne Goede, TAFTIE Assistant Secretariat

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