Greetings from the district,
Recently I had the privilege of leading a multi-state, bipartisan legislative delegation to Taiwan. The trip was sponsored and paid for by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Republic of China (Taiwan). The purpose of the trip was to learn more about Taiwan and its economic and political significance to the United States of America, as well as to meet Taiwan partners to determine how our relationship can evolve in the future.
But the trip was also about something much bigger. People, no matter where we live, generally share a couple simple goals. First, we usually want to make our community, city, state, or country as prosperous as possible. And second, we want leave the world a better place for our children. I’m always trying to find ways to help our region and the state meet the needs of the future, create a strong economy, and build a sustainable, thriving workforce. The people of Taiwan seem to share these goals. Our delegation went to Taiwan in the spirit of cooperation and shared prosperity.
Minnesota’s relationship with Taiwan is already more consequential than I realized before the trip. In 2018, Minnesota sent $413 million worth of goods to Taiwan. Last year, Taiwan signed a $1.5 billion deal to buy 3.9 million metric tons of soybeans from Minnesota and Iowa before 2021.
Taiwan also regularly organizes agricultural buying missions to the US, and Minnesota has been included in past purchases:
- 2013 Agricultural mission $3.5 billion
- 2015 Agricultural mission $2.4 billion
- 2018 Agricultural mission $1.56 billion
As you can see, those numbers are trending lower – we certainly have the capacity to do more. One of the purposes of this mission was to determine opportunities for mutual growth and success.
If you are interested, here are the meetings and tours we took part in while we were there:
July 21: Arrival, tour of Longshan Temple and tour of the National Palace Museum.
July 22: Tour of Taipei Rapid Transit Corporation; Briefing at the American Institute in Taiwan; met with the American State Offices Association; tour of the National Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall; tour of the National Cultural and Creative Gift Center.
July 23: Met with the American Chamber of Commerce; met with deputy minister of the Ministry of Health and Welfare; met with the Ministry of Transportation Railway Bureau; tour of Taipei 101 Financial Center.
July 24: Meeting at Legislative Yuan; met director general of the Department of North American Affairs for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; met with deputy minister for the Mainland Affairs Council; met with the Ministry of Economic Affairs’ Industrial Development Bureau;
July 25: Tour of the Council of Agriculture’s Taoyuan District Agricultural Research Extension Station; met with Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company Limited; High Speed Rail to Kaohsiung.
July 26: Tour of Kaohsiung Port; tour of Kaoshiung Port warehouse 2; train back to Taipei; Shilin Night Market.
An interesting takeaway I have from the trip: the tensions between mainland China and Taiwan are much more serious than I thought. Taiwan has been governed independently since 1949, but mainland China views Taiwan as a province. Mainland China even passed an anti-secession law that would force reunification in the event Taiwan ever moved toward full independence. The economic relationship between the two has been improving, but simmering political tension still persists.
Minnesota has long had a terrific partnership with Taiwan, but the world is constantly changing, and we can’t afford to sit still. Advancing technologies and changing consumer demands are constantly presenting new opportunities for success.
As always, if you have any questions, comments, or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact me. Your feedback is extremely important to me and I encourage you to share your input. You can send me an email at email@example.com or call my Capitol office at 651-296-5649. It’s a great honor to serve as your State Senator.
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Some photos from the trip: