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Ministry of Economic Affairs,R.O.C.

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2023-07-13 17:30
Department of International Cooperation

Minister Wang meets with Paraguayan President-elect to discuss bilateral economic and industrial cooperation

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Minister Wang and President-elect Pena discuss the LOI on bilateral Industrial Policy Cooperation
Minister of Economic Affairs Mei-Hua Wang met with visiting Paraguayan President-elect Santiago Pena Palacios and his delegation at the Ministry on July 12 to discuss progress on implementation of the bilateral Letter of Intent on Industrial Policy Cooperation, the benefits of the Agreement on Economic Cooperation between Taiwan and Paraguay, and other topics for future collaboration.

During the meeting, Minister Wang said President-elect Pena's delegation visit, which features several high-ranking officials, including the designated Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Finance, and Industry and Commerce, demonstrates Paraguay's determination to jointly develop industrial cooperation with Taiwan. She added that Taiwan greatly values its close friendship with Paraguay and looks forward to starting a new chapter of bilateral economic and trade cooperation, with Taiwan serving as Paraguay's best partner in facilitating its industrialization.

Minister Wang noted that under the LOI on Industrial Policy Cooperation, signed during the previous (21st) Taiwan-Paraguay Economic Cooperation Conference held in Taipei City on March 31, 2022, the two sides will implement a five-year policy consultation plan on Paraguay's economic development. The aim is to establish an industrial policy partnership to promote Paraguay's industrialization and bilateral industrial cooperation through experience sharing and knowledge exchanges.

The Ministry presented a briefing on recent progress in implementing the LOI, noting that suggested priority fields for bilateral cooperation include the food processing, textiles and new energy sectors, such as electric buses and hydrogen power. It also noted that Taiwan has organized industrial briefings and seminars to introduce Paraguay's business opportunities to domestic companies, and that several firms have expressed an interest in investing there and will follow up by surveying the investment environment and related incentives and other factors.

President-elect Pena responded that Paraguay possesses several advantages, such as a stable political environment, sound government finances, low interest and inflation rates, rich agricultural and livestock products, abundant natural resources, strong potential for renewable energy, a young workforce and competitive wages, abundant water, electricity and land resources at lower cost, as well as membership in the Southern Common Market (MERCOSUR). Hence, he looks forward to speeding up progress on fostering closer economic cooperation with Taiwan and attracting more Taiwanese companies to invest in Paraguay in a range of sectors such as auto parts, food processing, textiles, agriculture, and others. In addition, there are many flourishing Paraguayan SMEs eager to acquire greater financing, he said, expressing the hope that Taiwan can share its experience and operation model with respect to SME credit guarantee funds in order to help facilitate such Paraguayan firms in obtaining loans to accelerate their growth and development.

The Taiwan side stated that since the ECA between Taiwan and Paraguay entered into force in 2018, it has brought benefits and growth in bilateral trade, which increased by 234% from US$75.73 million in 2017 to US$250 million in 2022. For example, Paraguayan frozen beef exports to Taiwan increased from 6,900 tons (US$37 million) in 2017 to 36,000 tons (US$210 million) in 2022, ranking Paraguay as Taiwan's second largest source of such imports.

Taiwan greatly values its close friendly ties with Paraguay, with which it has maintained formal diplomatic relations for 66 years, and appreciates Paraguay's strong support in the international community. Taiwan will continue working with Paraguay on boosting commercial, trade, and investment ties in order to generate even greater mutual benefits for the people and industries of both sides.