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U.S. government agricultural trade mission visits Taiwan for 1st time

2019/04/22 11:57:26

Taipei, April 22 (CNA) A landmark trade mission from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) arrived in Taiwan on Monday to build ties and explore business opportunities in the agricultural sector, according to the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT).

Led by USDA's Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) Administrator Ken Isley, the delegation will engage in business meetings, briefings and onsite visits to gain firsthand information about the Taiwan market during the four-day visit, the AIT said in a statement.

"Taiwan and the United States have a long-standing and favorable business relationship," Isley was quoted as saying in the AIT press release. "Taiwan is an import-dependent economy and has a real affinity for U.S. ag products because of their quality, affordability and safety. What that adds up to is excellent opportunities for American exporters."

The delegation includes American Samoa Director of Agriculture Filifaatali M. Fuiava, Idaho State Department of Agriculture Director Celia Gould, officials from the Georgia and Nebraska departments of agriculture, and representatives from 49 American agribusinesses and farm organizations, the AIT said.

The U.S. is Taiwan's top overseas supplier of agricultural products, with a 31 percent market share, and U.S. agricultural exports to Taiwan reached a record US$3.8 billion in fiscal year 2018, according to USDA statistics.

The trade mission, the first by the USDA to Taiwan, is part of a yearlong campaign by the AIT to mark the 40th anniversary of the Taiwan Relations Act (TRA).

The TRA was signed in April 1979 by then U.S. President Jimmy Carter, a few months after the U.S. switched diplomatic recognition from Taipei to Beijing.

The act provides a legal basis for unofficial relations between the U.S. and Taiwan and enshrines in law the U.S.' commitment to helping Taiwan maintain its self-defense capability.

The AIT was launched in 1979 to serve as the de facto U.S. embassy in Taiwan in the absence of diplomatic ties.

(By Joseph Yeh)