Los Angeles, Jan. 22 (CNA) The first shipment of Taiwanese guavas to the United States has arrived after more than 20 days at sea, an event that was celebrated Wednesday by Taiwan's representative office in Los Angeles.
The guavas were shipped from the southern Taiwan city of Tainan on Dec. 27, 2019, following the signing of an export agreement by the two countries in October.
With the shipment of the 13 metric tons of guavas to Los Angeles, Taiwan became the second country in the world to supply the fruit to the U.S., after Mexico.
The arrival of the shipment was marked with a ceremony organized by the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Los Angeles.
At the ceremony, U.S. Congresswoman Judy Chu said the U.S.' importation of guavas from Taiwan was a "great step forward" for trade relations between the two sides.
"The value of our partnership with Taiwan cannot be understated," Chu said, noting that Taiwan is the U.S.' 11th largest trade partner while the U.S. is Taiwan's largest foreign investor.
She said the "fabulous" guavas were one of the most memorable experiences she had during a summer spent in Taiwan when she was a college student.
Also speaking at the event, Andrew Edlefsen, an officer at the United States' Foreign Commercial Service, said bilateral trade between the U.S. and Taiwan totaled US$95 billion dollars in 2018 and will continue to grow.
"I am very happy to see this trade relationship with Taiwan move forward and to see what the future brings," Edlefsen said.
Edlefsen also said guavas were his favorite fruit when he lived in Taiwan for five years.
Franz Gehrig, an official with the Consulate General of Switzerland in Los Angeles, said he was impressed when he learned that Taiwan was not just an exporter of high-tech products but also had a vibrant agricultural sector.
"We hope that in the future, there will also be guavas going to Switzerland from Taiwan," Gehrig said.
In addition to guavas, Taiwan's fruit exports to the U.S. are lychees, carambolas, longans and mangoes, according to Lin Li-fang (林麗芳), head of the agricultural division at Taipei's representative office in Washington, D.C.
The first shipment of guavas, which had to be refrigerated during the trip to avoid fruit fly infestation, will be distributed to supermarkets on the U.S. West Coast, according to Lin.