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Taiwan seals 22 trade deals to buy U.S.-produced grain

Taiwan seals 22 trade deals to buy U.S.-produced grain

Taipei, Oct. 8 (CNA) Taiwan's agricultural product procurement delegation signed a total of 22 trade deals during its two-week visit to the United States to purchase grain that the island can't grow in bulk, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said in a statement released Friday. The purchases amount to 13.7 million tons of grain, including corn, soybean and wheat, whose total value reaches US$5 billion, according to the statement. The purchases will be made over the next two years. The trade delegation, comprising 24 representatives of Taiwan's agricultural industry associations and relevant companies, was the eighth of its kind from Taiwan to visit the U.S. since 1998 to promote Taiwan-U.S. cooperation in the agricultural sector. It visited the U.S. from Sept. 19-Oct. 3. This year's delegation set many new records, including being the largest group of its kind to visit the U.S. The number of U.S. states it had visited during the two-week tour was also the largest at 11. And the volume of trade deals it had signed also broke a record, the statement said. Furthermore, the volume of grain the delegation has committed to purchasing was also the largest ever, it added, noting that the visit had drawn attention from U.S. state governments, federal congressmen and mainstream media. The MOFA said the trade deals have secured Taiwan's grain sources and quality in the future. They have also helped maintain the close and friendly ties on trade of agricultural products between Taiwan and the United States, it noted. Taiwan is the sixth largest consumer of U.S. agricultural products, the fifth largest market for U.S. corn and soybean exports, and the seventh largest market for U.S. wheat exports, according to the MOFA, which describes agricultural trade relations between the two countries as close. The United States is Taiwan's third largest trading partner, following China and Japan. (By Hsieh Chia-chen and Elizabeth Hsu)