Sun, Oct 26, 2008 - Page 3 News List

OPPOSITION RALLY: Ma touts cross-strait shipping

AGRICULTURE DIRECT Speaking at a hastily arranged agricultural fair yesterday, the president said that direct shipping would add four days to farm products’ shelf life

By Meggie Lu  /  STAFF REPORTER

President Ma Ying-jeou yesterday samples a slice of Taiwan-grown dragon fruit at an event held by the Council of Agriculture to promote Taiwanese agricultural products at the Songshan Tobacco Plant in Taipei City.

PHOTO: CNA

The opening of cross-strait direct shipping will be on the agenda when Straits Exchange Foundation Chairman Chiang Pin-kung (江丙坤) meets China’s Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait Chairman Chen Yun-lin (陳雲林) next month, President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) said yesterday.

Ma made the comments yesterday during a “Come Together and Buy Our Agricultural Goods” event that promoted domestically produced farm products and attracted thousands of fair-goers in Taipei. He said that direct shipping is important for the push of Taiwan’s agricultural prosperity,

The event was the first in a series of “Made in Taiwan is Best” events held by the Executive Yuan on weekends. With more than 100 stalls featuring products grown by farmer’s associations nationwide, it was an expansion of the Council of Agriculture’s (COA) weekly small-scale farmer’s market.

Last week, Premier Liu Chao-shiuan (劉兆玄) said the Executive Yuan would also host events over coming weekends to promote domestic electronic goods, clothes and other products.

As Executive Yuan on Monday suddenly ordered the COA to host the large-scale event — coinciding with the pan-green camp’s anti-Chinese product rally yesterday — some media speculated that the fair was the government’s effort to counter the effects of the protesters.

At the fair yesterday, some pan-blue supporters clapped and chanted, “President, Jiayou [加油]!” as Ma stepped on stage.

However, without a word about the demonstration, both Ma and Liu yesterday focused their efforts on promoting farm goods, encouraging people to spend money to support local businesses.

While Ma bought about NT$1,900 in flowers and bananas, Liu spent over NT$60,000 on 50 cases of dragon fruit as well as 50 bottles of rice wine.

Ma and Liu urged people to promote domestic goods abroad.

“Exporting agricultural goods is not only good for farmers, it is good for the economy as a whole,” Ma said.

During the Chiang-Chen meeting scheduled for next month, the topic of cross-strait direct shipping will be discussed, Ma said, adding the government’s cross-strait policies would “place Taiwan in the center and be beneficial to the people.”

“Agricultural goods would not need to go through Hong Kong; they could be shipped [to China] directly from Chiayi County’s Budai Port, Tainan County’s Annan Port, and Pingdong County’s Donggang Port, cutting transportation time from eight days to four,” Ma said. “Not only would [farmers] save shipping costs, their goods can get four more days of shelf life.”

Meanwhile, Vice President Vincent Siew (蕭萬長) was in Taichung yesterday for a “suncake festival.”

Accompanied by Taichung Mayor Jason Hu (胡志強), Siew promoted Taichung suncakes calling them the “pride of Taiwan.” Siew urged people to buy more of the tasty product to support local producers.

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY CNA

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