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Officials celebrate Idaho wheat industry’s trade relationship with Taiwan

From left, Idaho Gov. Butch Otter; Bill Flory, Idaho Wheat Commission; Tony I-T Chen, chairman, Taiwan Flour Mills Association; and Vincent C.H. Yao, director general, Taipei Economic and Cultural Office of Seattle; sign a wheat export deal in the governor’s office on Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017. (State of Idaho)
From left, Idaho Gov. Butch Otter; Bill Flory, Idaho Wheat Commission; Tony I-T Chen, chairman, Taiwan Flour Mills Association; and Vincent C.H. Yao, director general, Taipei Economic and Cultural Office of Seattle; sign a wheat export deal in the governor’s office on Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017. (State of Idaho)

Five percent of Idaho’s wheat production is purchased by Taiwan, the Idaho Wheat Commission announced today at a signing ceremony in the governor’s office, at which Taiwanese officials signed an agreement supporting $576 million in U.S. wheat exports over the next two years. “The United States has long been Taiwan’s most important supplier of agricultural products,” Vincent C.H. Yao, director general of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Seattle, said at the ceremony. “Among the states Idaho is one of the most important and reliable partners of Taiwan in terms of agricultural trade.”

The officials joined Gov. Butch Otter and state Agriculture Director Celia Gould at the ceremony, which also included Tony I-T Chen, chairman of the Taiwan Flour Mills Association, which imports wheat for all 20 flour mills in Taiwan. “In 2016, Taiwan was Idaho’s third-largest export market,” Chen said. “Taiwan’s consumers have appreciated high-quality Idaho-grown wheat and famous potatoes for decades.”

Otter said, “Export markets are critical to Idaho’s economy and to Idaho wheat growers. … The consumption of wheat foods in Taiwan has now surpassed rice, and we appreciate that the Taiwan milling industry recognizes the quality of Idaho wheat. This visit will foster sales opportunities for our state.”

The U.S. supplies more than 80 percent of Taiwan’s total wheat imports each year; the Taiwan Flour Millers Association is one of the Idaho wheat industry’s top five trade partners.

The two-year letter of intent that the Taiwanese officials signed today is for 1.8 million metric tons of U.S. wheat, Johnson said, an increase from the 1.7 million in their previous two-year commitment.

“Taiwan’s been a long-term customer,” Johnson said. “We have an excellent relationship that continues to grow. It really comes down to the consistency and quality of Idaho wheat.”




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Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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