Sat, Dec 06, 2003 - Page 2 News List

New agency will promote agricultural exports: president

CNA , TAIPEI

President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) said yesterday that the government will establish an agency to help promote the nation's agricultural exports.

Chen made the remarks when he attended an agricultural products exhibition held at the Taipei World Trade Center square.

The exhibition was held by the China External Trade Development Council at the request of the Council of Agriculture.

Purchase officers from Japan were among those attending the exhibition.

The president said that, faced with pressure from international trade liberalization and greater competition since Taiwan's entry into the WTO, the agriculture sector not only has to stand firm in Taiwan, but also has to take the initiative to actively make inroads in overseas markets.

The government will form the agency to help promote agricultural products to make those exports No. 1 in the world, as are the nation's notebook computer exports, Chen said.

Noting that yesterday's exhibition is only the beginning, he said similar exhibitions will be held in Kaohsiung on Dec. 20, in Tainan on Dec. 27, and in Hsinchu next month.

Earlier in the day, while receiving winners of agricultural awards at the Presidential Office, the president said that "if Tai-wan's agriculture is to be viable, it will have to act like the island's manufacturing industry by actively transforming and upgrading without relying on government protection."

He said that an agricultural sector that enjoys a competitive edge cannot rely on cheap prices alone but must also offer quality products.

He cited the example of imported Japanese rice which enjoys brisk sales in Taiwan despite being several times more expensive than locally-produced rice.

Chen stressed that Taiwan " doesn't have to be afraid of or reject liberalization."

"After joining the World Trade Organization, we have to open up the domestic market, but the world will also open up to Tai-wan," he said.

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