The Australian Office
Representative Mr Gary Cowan
English Transcript – Taiwan Council of Agriculture’s Press Conference on Organic Equivalency Recognitions held on 14 Aug 2020
Thank you Minister Chen and other distinguished guests.
Australia and Taiwan are both strong trading economies. We both know that our prosperity has derived from decades of open, transparent trade. Food is a critical part of our trading relationship.
Australia is Taiwan’s seventh largest supplier of food and agricultural products. We are Taiwan’s largest supplier of sheep-meat and barley; and a major supplier of beef, wine, milk, yoghurt and cereals.
Due to its potential to disrupt global transport and agricultural supply chains, the COVID-19 pandemic put food security in the international spotlight. For Taiwan as a net food importer and for Australia as a net food exporter, it remains vital to keep agricultural supply chains open.
This is why Australia and Taiwan have worked together – and with our agricultural sectors – to ensure that trade continues unimpeded.
We have kept open our critical transport infrastructure, including airports and seaports. We have been working to streamline our quarantine procedures to facilitate agricultural trade.
During this pandemic, maintaining open trade has been vital to both Taiwan and Australia. Signing our organic equivalency arrangement is another step in deepening our trading relationship.
I was very pleased to see that Australia and Taiwan finalised the organic equivalency arrangement well before Taiwan’s new organic legislation became effective in May this year. The organic equivalency arrangement allows greater access to organic foods in both Australia and Taiwan and strengthens our agricultural trade relationship.
Australia is recognised globally as a reliable supplier of high quality organic products. Every part of Australia’s export supply chain, from production, processing to storage, must meet our high regulatory standards.
We know that Taiwanese consumers are looking for healthy food that is natural, fresh and produced using sustainable farming methods. Australia offers a wide range of organic products to satisfy these demands, including Australian wine, fruits, meat and dairy products.
Additionally, Taiwan’s food industry can also utilise Australia’s full range of organic raw ingredients to create new and innovative organic products.
Our organic equivalency arrangement opens new possibilities to the Taiwanese and Australian food industries to meet the demands of sophisticated consumers.
I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Minister Chen and the Council of Agriculture for your achievements in promoting organic agriculture and sustainable farming in Taiwan. I look forward to the Australia-Taiwan relationship in organic agricultural trade growing in the years to come.