TAIPEI – Taiwan will try to expand the orchid industry in Paraguay, the island’s president announced on Thursday.
The Taiwanese government plans to establish an office of the state-run Taiwan Agriculture Investment Company in the South American country.
Tsai Ing-wen announced during a visit of Paraguayan Vice President Hugo Velazquez that the company, which invests in Taiwan’s allies, will try to attract more local entrepreneurs.
Tsai also expressed an interest in Paraguayan companies investing in the orchid industry.
The Taiwanese president said the friendship between the two countries needed to flourish like the orchids displayed at an exhibition in the convention center in Asuncion in May, jointly organized by the Embassy of Taiwan and a Taiwanese sugar company.
Velaquez participated in the Taiwanese National Day celebrations on Thursday and met Tsai, who praised the results of cooperation projects between the two countries in the fields of medicine, agriculture and education.
Tsai said Taiwan and Paraguay needed democracy, freedom and human rights to preserve their economic development, and thanked Paraguay for its support to the island, which has been increasingly isolated diplomatically by China.
Taiwan imports beef and sugar products from Paraguay while exporting rice and its products and knitting material to the South American country.
Velazquez, who previously visited Taiwan in 2014 and 2015, toured the capital Taipei, a tea promotion center in northern Taiwan and an art museum in the south during his visit.
Since pro-independence Tsai came to power in 2016, Taiwan has lost seven of its diplomatic allies El Salvador, Burkina Faso, Sao Tome and Principe, Panama, the Dominican Republic, the Solomon Islands and most recently Kiribati.
Both Beijing and Taipei have remained firm in their positions.
China considers the island a rebel province that has to return to its fold, while Taiwan asserts its independence from the Chinese government.