Topeka – Governor Laura Kelly, the Kansas Department of Commerce and Department of Agriculture welcomed members of the 2019 Taiwan Agricultural Trade Goodwill Mission to Topeka on Thursday.
Since 1998, Taiwan has dispatched a total of 13 agricultural trade goodwill missions to the U.S. in an effort to strengthen trade relations. This year’s mission was divided into three groups, with the meat subgroup visiting Kansas, Colorado, Wyoming and Arkansas.
Ming-Sui Kao, superintendent of Taiwan Frozen Meat Packers Association, and Matt Teagarden, CEO of Kansas Livestock Association, signed a joint letter of intent Thursday morning related to Taiwan continuing to purchase U.S. meat products. Taiwan purchased 104,000 metric tons of U.S. beef worth a total of $960 million in 2017 and 2018. Governor Kelly and Jerry Chang, director general of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) in Denver, witnessed the signing.
“Exports play an important role in Kansas agriculture, and for decades, Taiwan has been in the top 10 percent of overseas markets for Kansas agribusiness,” Governor Kelly said. “We’re grateful for Taiwan’s continued goodwill and commitment to purchasing Kansas meat products.”
“Taiwan purchases a lot of high-quality U.S. beef and lamb. The steaks served in the best restaurants in Taiwan are from the U.S., especially Kansas,” Kao said. “Taiwan is the sixth largest beef buyer of the United States with a value of $550 million annually. We are glad to have close trade relations with Kansas and look forward to strengthening our mutually beneficial relationship in the future.”
In 2018, Taiwan was the fifth largest export market for Kansas agricultural commodities, with the procurement of more than $167 million of Kansas goods including beef, oil, seeds, cereal grains and wheat flour. More than one quarter of Taiwan’s total agricultural imports came from the U.S. in 2018.
“Taiwan has a relatively small agricultural sector and relies heavily on imports for domestic use. Because of its dependence on imported agricultural products, Taiwan is expected to remain a large and growing destination for agricultural exports from the U.S., and Kansas in particular,” Secretary of Agriculture Mike Beam said. “The trade relationship between Taiwan and Kansas is long-standing, and we are pleased that representatives from TECO and Taiwan Agricultural Trade Goodwill Mission took the time to meet our Kansas farmers, ranchers and agribusinesses.”
Following the signing ceremony at the Capitol, the Goodwill Mission, joined by Secretary Beam, Deputy Secretary of Commerce Patty Clark and representatives of TECO, met with members of the Kansas Livestock Association and National Beef. They also had the opportunity to tour the Tyson facility in Emporia, ColdPoint Logistics in Kansas City and Seaboard Corporation in Merriam.
“Developing export opportunities for Kansas businesses is a critical part of our mission at the Department of Commerce, and we appreciate every opportunity we get to showcase the wonderful products and services that Kansas companies can provide to people around the world,” Commerce Secretary David Toland said. “Kansas has a reputation for producing incredibly safe, high-quality agricultural commodities, and we were happy that the members of Taiwan Agricultural Trade Goodwill Mission and representatives from TECO were able to see this firsthand during their visit.”
Taiwan Agricultural Trade Goodwill Mission takes place every two years and demonstrates Taiwan consumers’ preference for top-quality U.S. agricultural products.