Taiwan signs more agriculture cooperation accords with ASEAN

Following the government's "New Southbound" policy, the Taiwan-based Agricultural Technology Research Institute (ATRI) has signed additional accords in agriculture cooperation with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

The government-sponsored ATRI inked memoranda of understanding (MOU) on agricultural cooperation on Dec. 3 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 also signed MOUs with Taiwanese investor associations based in Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore and the Philippines in the ASEAN bloc, according to the ARTI.

Witnessing the accord signing ceremony on Tuesday, James Huang, director of the New Southbound Policy Office under the Presidential Office, said that agricultural cooperation is one of the key policy areas for the office.

At present, the office's promotion of agricultural cooperation under the New Southbound Policy has accelerated across a number of areas, Huang said.

The New Southbound Policy is an initiative pushed by the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) government to develop closer ties with business partners in the region, such as ASEAN members and India.

The government, which was sworn in on May 20, aims to diversify Taiwan's investment and trade at a time when there are concerns the island has become too economically dependent on China.

Lee Tien-chi, head of the ATCC, 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 and noted that such efforts have strengthened exchanges between Taiwan and the region.

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

Chung Chia-pin, a DPP lawmaker from Pingtung County, who also attended the signing ceremony, said that he hoped Taiwan would introduce the county's agricultural development to ASEAN as a model of development, as Pingtung is one of Taiwan's most important agricultural counties.

Source: Overseas Community Affairs Council