The Council of Agriculture (COA) of the Executive Yuan noted on July 19 that its Minister Chen Bao-ji led a delegation to visit the United States between July 13 and 19. They met five U.S. Congress Senators from agricultural states and eight U.S. House of Representatives, including chairmans of the House Agricultural and Foreign Affairs Committees. Accompanied by Shen Lyn-hsun, Taiwan Representative to the U.S., they also met Thomas Vilsack, Minister of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and other related high-level officials, in order to discuss how to strengthen Taiwan-U.S. bilateral trade relations of agricultural products as well as future agricultural cooperation. Through this meeting, Taiwan and U.S. agricultural high-level officials mutually agreed to strengthen collaborations in terms of agricultural technology, regional agricultural development, as well as boosting bilateral agricultural trade.
In addition to visiting the U.S. Congress, administration department and industrial organization, the delegation also paid a visit to the College of Agriculture and Biological Resources’ Laboratory Biosafety Level 3 (BSL-3) in the University of Maryland, as well as the “Joint Institute for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (JIFSAN),” jointly established by the University of Maryland and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). They exchanged opinions on various topics, such as Taiwan-U.S. food safety, agricultural, fishery and livestock technology, as well as the development training of agricultural personnel. Minister Chen stressed that Taiwan and the U.S. have had a solid cooperative foundation in agriculture. As early as in 1948, the “Sino-American Joint Commission on Rural Reconstruction (JCRR)” was established, in which Taiwan made good use of American aids to lay a foundation of agricultural development. Through cooperation with the Norman Borlaug Institute for International Agriculture at the Texas A&M University in the future, Taiwan is expecting to utilize its advantages of agricultural technology and regional location, for the purpose of constructing a nation as an agricultural training base and playing an important role in regional agricultural development.
This time, Minister Chen’s delegation is aimed not only to broadly exchange opinions on how to strengthen bilateral agricultural cooperation and agricultural products trade. Moreover, through this opportunity, it is expected to explain to the U.S. about Taiwan's currently promoted “Free Economic Pilot Zones-Agricultural Value-Added Policy,” hoping to attract American agri-businesses to invest in agricultural value-added industries at our pilot zones. By doing so can they expand markets in Southeast Asia and China, creating a win-win situation in Taiwan-U.S. agriculture. In addition, during his visit, Minister Chen also actively promoted the signing of Taiwan-U.S. bilateral investment agreement (BIA), which will benefit bilateral investment and boost industrialization of Taiwan’s agricultural technology. During the talk, the U.S. renewed their concern about export of beef and pork to Taiwan. In response, Minister Chen reiterated that regulations for beef and pork are separated. He said that Taiwan is willing to continue to buy American pork without Ractopamine, hoping the U.S. can understand Taiwan's stand on this issue.
In this trip, Minister Chen reached a full communication with the U.S. counterpart and demonstrated Taiwan's determination on further agricultural transformation and liberalization. The result was fruitful. Minister Chen and the delegation returned to Taiwan on July 19.