The Council of Agriculture (COA) hosted the "2016 Annual Bilateral Meeting on the Agricultural Sciences Cooperative Programs" on October 18, 2016. The American delegation led by US Agricultural Research Service (ARS) Administrator Dr. Chavonda Jacobs-Young joined the meeting and bore witness to three decades of cooperative achievement after the signing of Guidelines for a Cooperative Program in the Agricultural Sciences between Taiwan and the US by both governments in 1986. The bilateral meeting was chaired jointly by COA Deputy Minister Huang Chin-cheng and ARS Administrator Dr. Jacobs-Young, during which Huang emphasized that the two countries have already built a solid foundation for cooperation, while Jacobs-Young recognized this partnership’s contribution to the research and development of agricultural technology. Through thorough discussion, the two parties reaffirmed each other’s role as executive administration and confirmed the direction of issues for future cooperation as they reached a consensus on the principle of operation mechanism for bilateral cooperation platform. The meeting was then concluded with successful results.
The COA explained that following the Guidelines for a Cooperative Program in the Agricultural Sciences between Taiwan and the US signed in January 1986, the two parties conducted joint agricultural technical projects, such as cooperative research, technology exchange, seminar, technical visits or training courses, and took turns to organize the annual Taiwan-US Agricultural Sciences Cooperative Conference. Later on October, 2001, the Taipei Economic & Cultural Representative Office in the U.S. (TECRO) and the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) signed the amendment to expand areas of cooperation under principles of fairness and reciprocity.
The COA pointed out that the said Guideline’s implementation is carried out jointly by the COA and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The former US side coordinating agency was the Foreign Agriculture Service (FAS) under USDA; however, due to the readjustment of its main function to be focused on the establishment of international trade relations, the jurisdiction was therefore shifted to the ARS whereas its main focus was also readjusted from international agricultural affairs to agricultural technology R&D, with emphasis on substantial research cooperation. ARS is the USDA's chief scientific in-house research agency and the largest agricultural research organization in the world. It is responsible for conducting research related to agriculture, providing technical service, solving problems related to the industry, and improving agricultural product quality as well as food safety.
The COA stated that from 1986 to 2004, a total of 91 projects have been implemented under Taiwan-US agricultural cooperation, which includes important research achievements such as successful cattle and goat cloning, effective fruit fly prevention, establishment of negative-pressure animal necropsy room and bio-safety laboratory, biochips for meat inspection, improvement of aquaculture environment and breeding for disease resistance, etc. Many of the aforementioned projects have received high recognition from many sectors and the technologies were gradually transferred to be used for industrial technology upgrade. From 2005 to 2014, cooperation was focused on mutual visit by scientists of both sides, contributing to the establishment of cooperative channel and technical exchange. It became an important scientific reference for Taiwan to create fishery resource assessment and fishing ground monitoring, as well as to develop detection and monitoring technique for major animal and plant pest diseases. Thus successfully carry out the development of growing substance for nursery that can be transferred to the industry.
The COA further stated that global technology and economic environment had undergone drastic changes in recent years, and Taiwan’s agriculture would soon have to transform itself. The COA is tasked with the mission of agricultural innovation, and expects to tackle the challenges brought by climate change, food production, food safety, energy efficiency and resource recycling with production system based on applying intelligent technologies to local production system. The ARS is responsible for USDA’s technology promotion and application, emphasizing simplicity and efficiency. Its researches focus more on application potential and technical yield, which is beneficial to substantial cooperation between the two sides in the future. This year marks the 30th anniversary of Taiwan-US Agricultural Sciences Cooperation, and this bilateral meeting marks the first summit after ARS assumed administrative responsibility. Both sides were convinced that a new chapter in Taiwan-US cooperation will be opened under an equal and reciprocal relation. The two countries also consent to work closely together on important global issues and pursue continuous innovation of agricultural sciences and technology.