Paraguayan president cooks, business groups sign MOU

The President and First Lady of Paraguay Mario Abdo Benitez and Silvana Lopez Moreira presented a cooking demonstration Wednesday dressed as chefs, at an event to promote Paraguayan meat products and investment opportunities.

The two dishes Abdo and the first lady cooked in front of dozens of potential investors in Taipei - a Gua Bao (pork belly bun) and diced beef steak - were chosen to demonstrate how Paraguayan meat can be used by Taiwanese households as part of their daily diet.

The cooking show was followed by the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the Importers and Exporters Associations of Taipei (IEAT) and the Paraguayan Meats Chamber (CPC).

According to the IEAT, the MOU will serve as a basis for both sides to work together to promote Paraguayan meat products in Taiwan.

Vice Foreign Minister Alexander Yui (???) told the event that Paraguay is Taiwan's second-largest source of beef imports after the United States.

According to the ministry, after a bilateral economic cooperation agreement took effect in 2018, imports of Paraguayan beef quadrupled in three years.

Paraguayan government data also shows that Taiwan imported US$162 million worth of beef from the South American nation in 2021, making it the third largest recipient of Paraguayan beef, after Chile and Russia.

Abdo also took the opportunity at Wednesday's event to tout business opportunities in Paraguay to Taiwanese investors.

According to Abdo, over the past five years his administration has taken numerous actions to improve Paraguay's trade and investment environment, such as pushing for judicial and tax reforms and launching infrastructure development projects.

Paraguay has sufficient alternative energy resources and is ready to roll out tax incentives to attract foreign investors, he said.

The 51-year-old Paraguayan president was quoted by the Financial Times last September as urging Taiwan to make a US$1 billion investment in Paraguay in order to retain diplomatic ties.

Abdo told the event that Taiwan and Paraguay have fostered close relations over the years and said he looked forward to seeing bilateral ties continue to develop even after his five-year term in office ends in August.

With Paraguay's next presidential election only two months away, candidates' stances on the diplomatic relations with Taiwan have come under the spotlight.

While ruling Colorado Party candidate Santiago Pena has told the media that Paraguay will maintain its ties with Taiwan should he be elected president, his opponent Efrain Alegre, the candidate of a broad coalition, pledged to switch diplomatic recognition from Taipei to Beijing in an attempt to expand the country's exports to China.

Paraguay and the Republic of China, Taiwan's de jure name, established diplomatic relations in 1957.

Paraguay is one of only 14 states around the world that diplomatically recognize Taipei instead of Beijing and is Taiwan's only ally in South America.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel