New agriculture minister Chen Chi-chung (陳吉仲) arrived in Seattle on Wednesday and attended an event promoting Taiwan seafood and agricultural goods. Chen is in the city to participate in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Food Security Ministers’ Meeting on Thursday.
At the event, Taiwanese agricultural products were introduced to the attendees, which included Washington State politicians, distributors, importers, and media. Products promoted at the event included fish such as grouper, as well as edamame, mango, tea, and dried fruit.
Chen says that Taiwan's agricultural exports to the United States reached NT$27.2 billion (US$860 million) in 2022, an increase of 5.1% over the previous year. Chen adds that the U.S. has even surpassed China as the largest export market for Taiwan's agricultural products. Chen says Washington State also has many high-quality agricultural products popular among Taiwanese consumers and there are plans to expand exports on both sides.
Republican State Senator Keith Wagoner, speaking to CNA, says that Taiwan is an important trading partner of the U.S. in today's tense geopolitical situation, but more importantly that Taiwan and the U.S. share values of rights and freedoms. Wagoner, who has been a longtime supporter of Taiwan in the State Senate, says he hopes Taiwan and the U.S. can further deepen their relationship.
Chen says that eating grouper helps support Taiwanese fishermen and the sustainable development of Taiwan's fisheries. Two years ago 90% of Taiwanese grouper was exported to China, however, in June 2022 China placed a unilateral ban on grouper imports from Taiwan.