Taiwan’s Ministry of Agriculture (MOA) and the UK’s Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs (Defra) convened the “6th Taiwan-UK Joint Agriculture Dialogue” on September 19 in Taipei. The two sides discussed issues including prevention and control measures of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI), cooperation in emerging applications of plant-based protein products, agriproduct trade, regulatory harmonization, exchanges on testing techniques of plant variety rights, and market access. The two parties agreed to continue to move forward with deeper exchanges and mutual visits on relevant issues.
The MOA states that Taiwan and the UK signed a Memorandum of Understanding on agricultural cooperation in 2021 and established a bilateral cooperation mechanism in agriculture. Although the COVID-19 pandemic hindered the physical meetings over the past three years, the two sides have continued progressing with agricultural cooperation. Last year there has been a severe HPAI epidemic worldwide, which has not only caused the death of a large number of wild birds, but has also impacted the poultry industry of many countries, resulting in a large supply-demand insufficiency in chicken meat and eggs as well as a significant increase in the costs of their production. The UK’s Chief Veterinary Officer came to Taiwan along with the UK delegation on this trip and engaged in discussions with experts from the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Agency (APHIA) and Veterinary Research Institute (VRI) on issues of HPAI pathogens detection and prevention. These talks greatly help both parties in their efforts to control avian diseases.
The UK is an important agriproduct trading partner for Taiwan. In 2022, Taiwan’s main agriproduct exports to the UK included prepared foods, beverages, baked goods, cassava starch, frozen squid, and tea, totaling about US$37 million. Meanwhile, Taiwan imports from the UK included alcoholic beverages, salmon, mackerel, and frozen pork, totaling about US$593 million. The agriculture authorities in Taiwan and the UK hold regular dialogues to resolve market access problems of mutual concern and deepen cooperation and exchanges in agricultural technology. These talks facilitate the joint creation of business opportunities in agricultural trade and investment and promote the well-being of farmers and sustainable agricultural development in both countries.