Taiwan has agreed to buy up to US$1.56 billion-worth of soybeans from the United States in 2018-2019, the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Chicago said Friday.
A Taiwanese agricultural trade delegation signed a letter of intent on soybean purchases Thursday with the Minnesota Soybean Research and Promotion Council, the Taiwanese representative office in Chicago said in a statement.
The Taiwanese delegation was led by Taiwan Vegetable Oil Manufacturers Association Chairman Hung Yau-kuen (???). Hung said the purchase of soybeans showed Taiwan's support for American farmers at a time of rising trade friction between the United States and China.
So far this year, Washington has imposed tariffs on US$250 billion- worth of Chinese goods, while China has retaliated by targeting U.S. merchandise including agricultural products such as soybeans and corn.
Speaking at the signing ceremony, Hung said that following a similar soybean purchase agreement signed by a delegation from Taiwan last year, Taiwan signed another accord this year to buy more soybeans.
In the two purchase agreements, Taiwan plans to buy a maximum of 3.9 million metric tons of soybeans worth up to US$1.56 billion during 2018-2019.
Taiwan is Minnesota's sixth-largest export market, and a key trading partner for the state's agricultural products.
"With the U.S. Department of Agriculture predicting the largest U.S. soybean crop ever, these export opportunities are vitally important," said Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton in a separate statement.
Since 1998, Taiwan has sent 12 agricultural purchase delegations to the U.S., which indicates Taipei's strong determination to boost agricultural and economic exchanges with the U.S., Taiwan's Chicago office said.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel