Taiwan trade mission nets pledge for $472 million in Nebraska commodities

2013-09-06T10:40:00Z 2013-09-06T21:10:05Z Taiwan trade mission nets pledge for $472 million in Nebraska commoditiesBy KEVIN O'HANLON / Lincoln Journal Star JournalStar.com
September 06, 2013 10:40 am  • 

Taiwanese officials have agreed to buy up to $472 million worth of Nebraska corn, wheat and soybeans, Lt. Gov. Lavon Heidemann announced Friday during a trade mission to Asia.

“Throughout this visit we’ve been told by the Taiwanese that they appreciate Nebraska’s efforts to develop meaningful connections with government leaders, importers and other business leaders,” he said. “They also continue to point out that they enjoy knowing Nebraska will deliver high-quality commodities.”

The letter of intent, signed by Heidemann and Nebraska Agriculture Director Greg Ibach at a ceremony in Taipei, pledges sales valued at $401 million to $472 million over a two-year period. Taiwanese parties to the agreement include representatives of the Taiwan Flour Mills Association, Taiwan Feed Industry Association and the Taiwan Vegetable Oil Manufacturers Association.

While signed by industry officials and Nebraska government leaders, the agreement pledges the purchase of crops through negotiations between importers and private suppliers.

The agreement is similar to those with the island nation of 23 million people on trade missions in 2007 and 2010. Those each pledged about $500 million in sales of Nebraska corn, soybeans and wheat, and Ibach said Friday they've been fulfilled.

The new agreement specifies the intent to purchase 800,000 to 1 million metric tons of corn, worth an estimated $176 million to $220 million; 200,000 to 220,000 metric tons of soybeans, valued at $120 million to $132 million; and 500,000 to 600,000 metric tons of wheat, valued at $105 million to $120 million.

In addition to finalizing the trade agreement, the delegation met with Taiwan Vice President Wu Den-yih and with officials in the Ministry of Economic Affairs, the Counsel of Agriculture and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and attended a ceremony to sign a proclamation marking the 30th anniversary of the Nebraska-Taiwan sister-state relationship.

Taiwan is Nebraska’s 13th largest export market, with $94 million in imports in 2012. But it was the state’s 10th-largest agricultural export market in 2012.

Heidemann and the trade delegation will leave Saturday for Tokyo to participate in the annual Midwest U.S.-Japan Association Conference. This is the 12th foreign or reverse trade mission of Gov. Dave Heineman's administration.

Last year, he went to China with about 35 business leaders, economic development professionals from several Nebraska communities, representatives from the University of Nebraska and industry leaders. Nebraska and the Chinese province of Shaanxi became sister states during that trip.

Reach Kevin O'Hanlon at 402-473-2682 or kohanlon@journalstar.com.

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