On April 7, 2014, the minister of the Council of Agriculture Executive Yuan (COA) of the Republic of China, Taiwan, Chen Bao-ji paid a visit with seven other agricultural economists to Germany. Other than attending the annual meeting of the Taiwanese-German Association for Economic and Social Research (DTG), the group also visited the well-developed local ranches and agricultural installations. This trip marked the first time of the current minister of the COA visiting Germany, in the company of Dr. Suang-Jing Pong, director of the Germany Office of the Ministry of Science and Technology of the ROC (MoST), who provided assistance throughout to consummate the schedule.
On invitation, the ambassador of the ROC to Germany Agnes Hwa-Yue Chen also joined the crew all the way from Berlin and feted the participants. The ambassador stated that Germany is the most important economic and trade partner of Taiwan in the European Union (EU), and it is hoped that, based on the existing cooperation foundation, the communicative exchange of agricultural products from both sides can be stimulated and bettered, then further create a regional common platform between the two.
With the members formed mainly of scholars, the DTG was established in 1967, to serve as a conferring platform and hold alternate meetings in Germany and Taiwan by turns. The meeting this year is the thirty-first, while the association already has a history of 47 years, having contributed greatly to the professional resource exchange of agricultural commerce, technology and human talent between Germany and Taiwan. Back in the 1950s and 1960s, German people had eaten the Taiwan-exported canned asparagus, Formosa-Spargel. As well, the COA minister Chen Bao-ji added that the factory established by the Germany-based world’s fourth-ranked supplier of avian vaccines Lohmann Animal Health GmbH& Co.KG is “by far the largest agricultural investment by Germany in Taiwan.”
The annual meetings on April 7 and 8 focused on the issues of agricultural development, environment and ecology, and raising conditions of animal husbandry. Speeches by multiple German and Taiwanese researchers and experts were given, on the subjects such as the adjustment policies on the agricultural structure of Germany’s response to trade liberalization, the environment of stock raising by peasant households, the management and disposal of livestock waste by the animal husbandry, the impact of agriculture on ecology and environment, and the communication with consumers.
After the series of meetings, the group of eight arrived in North Rhine-Westphalia to visit a small-scale yet multi-dimensional ranch. Then the following destination was the Eifel region in Western Germany for the visitation of the village developments and water supplies. Lastly, the COA minister Chen Bao-ji paid a courtesy call to the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) located in Berlin, before heading to the headquarter of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in Geneva, Switzerland. (Yi-Ching Lin Jauh, National Taiwan University)