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U.S. Agriculture Department to send first trade mission to Taiwan

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will send its first-ever trade mission to Taiwan in April, the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) said Tuesday.

Citing a USDA press release issued on December, AIT spokesperson Amanda Mansour told CNA that the trade mission will take place from April 22 to 24.

Mansour said she believed the head of the delegation would meet with Taiwanese authorities, but she had no further information on the specific items to be discussed.

According to the USDA statement, the delegation will be headed by USDA Foreign Agricultural Service Administrator Ken Isley and will consist of about 80 people, including other agriculture officials and representatives from an estimated 40 companies.

The mission's goal will be to strengthen and deepen agricultural ties with Taiwan, the statement said.

The U.S. is Taiwan's top overseas supplier of agricultural products, with a 31 percent market share, and U.S. agricultural exports to Taiwan reached a record US$3.8 billion in fiscal year 2018, according to USDA statistics.

The mission was originally set to take place in March but was recently rescheduled to April.

The AIT's comments were in response to CNA questions asking for confirmation that the mission will take place and if it will discuss Taiwan's ongoing ban on U.S. pork containing the controversial leanness-enhancing drug ractopamine.

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