Taiwanese business groups signed a new two-year agreement Monday that increases the amount of corn and soybeans Taiwan companies purchase from Indiana. The new agreement comes at a time when many Hoosier farmers are struggling in part due to the ongoing trade war with China.
Indiana exports about $1.5 billion of soybeans and $600 million of corn around the world every year.
This new purchase agreement between agricultural groups in Indiana and Taiwan builds on their trade relationship – and increases sales from Indiana, according to officials at the ceremony.
"In Taiwan we need a lot of the soybean and corn and wheat and meat,” says Dr. Junne-Jih Chen, Taiwan Council of Agriculture deputy minister. “But according to our consumer habits, we like to purchase the American soybean and corn. So this is why we organize this kind of delegation to come here.”
Indiana Soybean Alliance CEO Jane Stevens says having Taiwan as a trading partner is important.
“Trade is the life blood for U.S. grain, corn and soybean farmers; it’s absolutely critical,” says Stevens. “Our farmers are very, very efficient and they know how to grow a lot of corn and soybeans. And we can’t consume all of them in the United States so we have to have trading partners.”
She says the agreement comes at a time when many Hoosier soybean farmers have taken a financial hit due to the trade war between the U.S. and China.
“For me, this just represents that even though the rest of the world, we’re in a big trade fight with China, we do have still continued strong relationships with Taiwan,” says Stevens.
The agreements with the two Taiwanese trade groups also include purchases of corn, soybeans and other agricultural products from states including Mississippi, Illinois and Nebraska.