President Tsai Ing-wen said Jan. 8 that the Republic of China (Taiwan) government is committed to expanding mutually beneficial exchanges with South American diplomatic ally Paraguay in areas spanning agriculture, education and trade.
Noting that last year marked the 60th anniversary of the establishment of official relations, Tsai praised the strong friendship between the two countries. A bilateral economic cooperation accord set to come into force in February will build on the robust ties by further enhancing trade and investment links, she said.
Tsai made the remarks while receiving a Paraguay delegation headed by Fernando Lugo, president of the Paraguay Senate and former Paraguay president, at the Office of the President in Taipei City. The seven-strong delegation is on a fact-finding tour Jan. 6-10 that includes stops at Asia’s New Bay Area and Fo Guang Shan Buddha Museum in southern Taiwan’s Kaohsiung City as well as the National Center for Traditional Arts in eastern Taiwan’s Yilan County.
The close partnership between the two allies is highlighted by frequent high-level exchanges, the president said, adding that this visit marks the fourth time Lugo has been to Taiwan. Tsai also noted that she traveled to the South American nation during her first official overseas trip as president in June 2016.
During that visit, Tsai delivered an address to the Paraguay Congress during which she announced various objectives for strengthening bilateral collaboration. Related initiatives have since been enacted in areas spanning business, education and trade, she said.
The implementation next month of the Agreement on Economic Cooperation between the ROC (Taiwan) and Paraguay marks a major milestone in these efforts. Signed in July 2017, the accord will enhance trade and investment collaboration through such measures as removing tariffs, relaxing import restrictions and establishing a technological cooperation mechanism to boost infrastructure and industrial development.
Under the agreement, beef imports from Paraguay will be granted tariff-free access to Taiwan. Import quotas for Paraguayan beef, which have been raised to 10,000 tons, are expected to further increase following the introduction of the accord, Tsai said.
The two sides have also been stepping up education exchanges through initiatives such as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs-administered Taiwan Scholarship. The MOFA raised the number of places for Paraguayan students from 28 to 40 for 2018, the president said, adding that more than 50 Paraguay students will come to Taiwan under various government education grant programs this year.
Tsai also expressed gratitude to the South American diplomatic ally for its unwavering backing of Taiwan’s meaningful participation in international organizations. In September last year, Paraguay was among 17 diplomatic allies that voiced staunch support for Taiwan’s participation in the U.N. system during the world body’s General Assembly in New York.
Source: Taiwan Today (http://taiwantoday.tw/news.php?unit=2&post=127724)