Fri, Dec 09, 2016 - Page 3 News List

COA to promote agricultural cooperation with four countries

Staff writer, with CNA

Officials from the Agricultural Technology Research Institute and delegates from ASEAN countries give the thumbs up after signing a series of agriculture cooperation agreements on Tuesday in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

Photo: CNA

The Council of Agriculture (COA) yesterday said it would promote agricultural cooperation with four countries under the government’s “new southbound policy.”

The four countries have yet to be finalized, but will probably be Vietnam, Thailand, Myanmar and Indonesia, council officials said, although they did not rule out other countries being included.

In a report on “new southbound agriculture” at a Cabinet meeting, the council said that the nation relies too heavily on the Chinese market for exports of its agricultural products and that it is urgent and necessary to diversify its markets.

The strategy will include maintaining existing export markets and actively tapping into emerging markets, such as ASEAN, South Asia, New Zealand and Australia, the council said.

Under the “new southbound agriculture,” the council will seek to increase business opportunities and contributions by investing in select countries’ agricultural industries and exporting agricultural machinery.

The goals will be to develop full cooperation in agriculture with the four countries and help agriculture enterprises set up at least 10 model farms in those countries, the council said.

In related news, the Agricultural Technology Research Institute (ATRI) on Saturday signed additional accords in agriculture cooperation with ASEAN members.

The government-sponsored ATRI inked memoranda of understanding on agricultural cooperation with the Asia Taiwanese Chambers of Commerce (ATCC) and Taiwanese investor associations from Cambodia, Laos and Brunei, in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

Since September, the ARTI, which has set its sights on closer ties with ASEAN, has signed similar cooperation agreements with Taiwanese investor associations in eight ASEAN countries designed to accelerate the pace of agricultural development.

In addition to Cambodia, Laos and Brunei, the institute has signed accords with Taiwanese investor associations based in Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore and the Philippines, the institute said.

New Southbound Policy Office Director James Huang (黃志芳), who witnessed the signing ceremony, on Tuesday said that agricultural cooperation and promotion is one of his office’s key policy areas.

ATCC head Lee Tien-chi (李天柒) said that he was glad to see the ATRI achieve so much in just a few of months in terms of promoting agricultural cooperation with ASEAN, adding that such efforts have strengthened exchanges between Taiwan and the region.

The agricultural sector is one of Taiwan’s economic strengths and the nation should take advantage of its expertise to forge closer relationships with ASEAN members, many of which are focused on agricultural development, Lee said.

Chung Chia-pin (鍾佳濱), a Democratic Progressive Party legislator from Pingtung County who also attended the signing ceremony, said that he hoped the government would introduce Pingtung’s agricultural development to ASEAN as a model for development, as the county is one of Taiwan’s most important agricultural areas.

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