Mon, May 27, 2002 - Page 17 News List

Procurement mission in Washington


A Taiwan agricultural products procurement mission, accompanied by Chiang Kuo-chiang, representative of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Seattle, visited the state of Washington Saturday.

They were welcomed by Washington State Governor Gary Locke and Lieutenant Governor Brad Owen upon their arrival.

Locke said that Taiwan and Washington have maintained very close economic and trade relationships and that he was very glad to see Taiwan import large amounts of agricultural products from Washington, like wheat, apples, cherries and potatoes.

Locke, the first Chinese-American state governor, visited Taiwan in 1998 at the head of a Washington State trade delegation.

Owen also extended his gratitude to Taiwan for its procurement of Washington wheat and said that he had visited Taiwan in 2000 at the invitation of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Seattle to attend the inaugural ceremony of President Chen Shui-bian and Vice President Annette Lu. He was deeply impressed by Taiwan's democratic achievements and economic strength, Owen said.

Chiang expressed the hope that Locke would support the idea of a free trade agreement between Taiwan and the US.

Taiwan is always the most important export market for the US, Chiang said, adding that the island continues to be the fifth-largest market for US agricultural products.

He said that the Taiwan agricultural mission has signed letters of intent for the procurement of US wheat for 2002 and 2003 with the US Wheat Association in Washington, promising to buy 170,000 metric tons of wheat worth US$264 million.

Taiwan bought US$100 million in wheat from Washington State last year, becoming Washington State's third-largest wheat export market.

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