Missouri makes billion dollar trade commitment with Taiwan

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JEFFERSON CITY - The Missouri Department of Agriculture and Taiwan have renewed a decades-long trade partnership and agreed to a billion-dollar commitment.

The Taiwan Vegetable Oil Manufacturers Association said it intends to purchase about $1.2 billion worth of soybeans in 2018. The Republic of China (Taiwan) Feed Industries Association also plans to buy about $1.1 billion in corn and corn coproducts.

Taiwanese agriculture officials came to Missouri to tour farms last week and signed a letter of intent. The Missouri Department of Agriculture said Taiwan has been an "important international market" for more than two decades.

"We were proud to reaffirm this strong trade legacy which will directly benefit our farmers and ranchers," communications director Sarah Alsager said.

Tim Reinbott, the director of the South Farm Research Center, said this trade is essential for Missouri farmers.

“Without these exports, the price of corn and soybeans would be below production costs," Reinbott said.

Reinbott said countries like Taiwan are important to the market for crops because some European countries refuse to import Missouri products that contain GMOs.

“Asia has been a consistent importer, and this shows that they’re continuing to be that consistent importer of Missouri-grown corn and soybeans," Reinbott said.

Reinbott said the food Missouri farmers produce will help grow rural economies.