Sun, Jul 20, 2014 - Page 3 News List

Minister promotes US agriculture deal

Staff writer, with CNA

Council of Agriculture Minister Chen Bao-ji (陳保基) has solicited investment in the value-added agriculture industry in the nation’s planned free economic pilot zones and has aggressively promoted a future US-Taiwan bilateral investment agreement during a July 13 to 19 visit to the US, council officials said yesterday.

During Chen’s visit, he talked with US Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack on topics including strengthening agricultural and trade relations and agricultural cooperation between the two countries, said a council official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

The two sides agreed during the meeting to strengthen cooperation in the development of agricultural technology, the promotion of the agricultural sector and trade in agricultural products, the official added.

Chen also met senators from five US agriculture-heavy states and eight members of the US House of Representatives, including US House Committee on Agriculture Chairman Frank Lucas and US House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce, the official said.

Chen exchanged views with US agricultural experts on issues such as Taiwan-US cooperation in improving food safety, developing techniques and strengthening personnel training in the agriculture and aquaculture sectors, the official said.

Chen introduced Taiwan’s policy in developing the value-added agricultural industry in the zones, with the aim of attracting US companies to invest in the industry in the zones with an eye to jointly venture into the Southeast Asian and Chinese markets.

In response to US concerns about the nation’s ban on beef offal and pork containing ractopamine, Chen was quoted by the official as saying that Taiwan will insist on barring imports of US pork containing the leanness-enhancing drug.

However, the official said Chen emphasized that the nation in 2012 had eased restrictions on US beef containing ractopamine residue.

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