Lithuania looks forward to fostering “stable economic cooperation with Taiwan” amid challenges such as economic pressure from China and global food insecurity due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Lithuanian Vice Minister of Agriculture Egidijus Giedraitis, who is on a three-day visit to Taiwan, said yesterday.
“We’re interested in long-term, stable economic cooperation with Taiwan,” Giedraitis said at the opening of the Food Taipei international exhibition, which runs through Saturday.
This year’s trade show features 18 sections showcasing agricultural and food products from Taiwan’s allies and partners, such as the US, Paraguay, Eswatini and Lithuania.
Giedraitis, who arrived in Taipei early yesterday, said his delegation of government officials and business representatives would have many opportunities to meet with their Taiwanese counterparts.
He said he expects the meetings to generate more bilateral trade in agricultural and food products.
Giedraitis thanked Taiwan for its help when Lithuanian businesses faced “several discrepancies and discriminatory actions” from China, likely referring to Taiwan’s purchase of more than 20,000 bottles of Lithuanian rum in January after the Baltic nation believed their export to China would be banned by Beijing.
The Chinese government downgraded diplomatic ties with Lithuania after the Baltic state and Taiwan last year announced that they would set up representative offices in each other’s capitals.
Apart from the “complex situation” of trade with China, Giedraitis said that food security around the world has been affected by Russia’s aggression against Ukraine.
His ministry would “make every effort” to help Lithuanian food producers expand to new markets in Asia, Giedraitis said, adding that Taiwan would become an important trade partner.
Agricultural and food exports are key to a nation’s economy, but politics can disrupt them, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said, citing Taiwanese grouper and Lithuanian rum, which have faced Chinese boycotts.
The Chinese General Administration of Customs on Monday last week suspended imports of the fish, citing prohibited chemicals and excessive levels of oxytetracycline allegedly found in grouper imports since December last year.
Council of Agriculture Minister Chen Chi-chung (陳吉仲) told a news conference last week that the substances China claims to have found have not been detected for five years in Taiwan.
Yesterday, Tsai said that beer and chocolate produced in Lithuania, as well as rum, have become popular among Taiwanese.
Democratic countries can overcome all kinds of challenges if they help each other, she said.
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