SVG strengthens ties with Taiwan
May 12, 2015
SVG strengthens ties with Taiwan

The government of St Vincent and the Grenadines continues to strengthen its relationship with the Government of the Republic of China (Taiwan).

Recently, government officials visited Taiwan, where they held discussions (with Taiwanese officials) on agriculture, clean energy {{more}}(solar energy), E-Government and other areas of investment aimed at boasting our local economy.

The local mission, led by permanent secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Nathaniel Williams also included permanent secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture Raymond Ryan and Invest SVG’s executive director Bernadette Ambrose-Black.

In a recent interview, Ambrose-Black said that a lot was gained during the recent visit.

She said that during the visit, which ran from March 16 to 21, it was obvious that Taiwan embraces people as its most important resource; hence peoples’ hard work and the Government’s “foresighted” planning is something that we should embrace as Vincentians, in our efforts to uplift the country.

She said that the recent visit yielded discussions regarding the benefits of E-Government and it is anticipated that Taiwan’s E-Government model, through assistance from the Taiwanese Government, will be adopted here.

Ambrose-Black also noted that in terms of investments, Invest SVG is seeking possible assistance, through knowledge exchange and training through partnerships in their bid to become “a truly one stop shop, providing proactive one stop services.”

“We sought the assistance of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to create a link with the Investment Agency in Taiwan to examine possible best practices and lessons learnt. Also, through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, assistance is also being sought for a consultant who would aid in drafting an Investment Act for St Vincent and the Grenadines,” revealed Ambrose-Black.

During the group’s visit, they met with former Taiwanese Ambassador to SVG Weber Shih. Shih is now the Secretary General of the International Cooperation and Development Fund.

During the meeting with Shih, the group discussed technical cooperation, lending and investment, education and training and humanitarian assistance. The meetings focused on areas like agriculture, public health, education, ICT, environmental retention and helping farmers to develop agribusiness.

Ambrose-Black said talks were held on food safety and the establishment of comprehensive structures for traceability and Good Agricultural Practices (GAP). The ED said that Taiwan is well positioned to impart knowledge on SVG as it relates to traceability and GAP, as Taiwan is part of the Asian Vegetable Research and Development Centre, which was founded on May 22nd 1971 by the Asian Development Bank and has as members Japan, Korea, Philippines, Thailand, USA, Vietnam, and the Republic of China (Taiwan).

According to Ambrose-Black, during agricultural meetings, they discussed the ‘Strengthening Farmers’ Organizations and Improving Fruit and Vegetable Production Technology Project’ in St Vincent and the Grenadines.

This project, a collaboration between the Ministry of Agriculture and Taiwan sees the Taiwanese lending their agricultural expertise here.

The project began on January 1, 2015 and runs up to December 31, 2018 and is valued at US$3 million (US$2 million from Taiwan; US$1.235 million from the Government of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines).

This programme complements the European Union (EU) Banana Accompanying Measures (BAM), adopted by the Ministry of Agriculture in order to empower farmers’ organizations and enhance their techniques in producing vegetables and fruits.

Ambrose-Black added that as it relates to agriculture, a visit was also made to the Mango Process Plant, which is similar in concept to the Central Processing Facility proposed for SVG.

The group’s visit also saw discussions being held with Speed Tech Energy Company Limited (Taiwan), a company that has been mentioned as it relates to supplying the Argyle international airport with solar energy.

“By way of investment, Invest SVG is hoping to introduce Speed Tech to the populace and have discussed the possibility of a workshop during their next visit. They manufacture traffic lights, solar fans, solar radios, to name a few and they also have ideas for farmers and private sector entities,” said Ambrose-Black.

“This was a very informative and productive mission, which yielded much fruit,” stressed Ambrose-Black, who noted also that while in Taiwan, they met with Vincentian students studying there.

She said that the students expressed interest in the Supportive Education and Training (SET) programme, as well as the National Telecommunications Regulatory Ideas and Innovation Competition.