TAIPEI – Taiwan and Paraguay reaffirmed on Wednesday 60 years of bilateral ties with ceremonies and other commemorative activities, and a historic agreement on economic cooperation, amid growing tension between Taiwan and China.
President Tsai Ing-wen greeted Paraguayan president Horacio Cartes with full state honors at the Taiwanese Presidential Palace and welcomed him on behalf of the government and people of Taiwan, reiterating the island’s commitment to continued cooperation with Paraguay.
“I reiterate in this solemn act the will of the people and government of my country to continue to strengthen ties with the Republic of China (Taiwan), with the same spirit of sincere friendship and reciprocal affection,” said Cartes, reiterating Paraguay’s diplomatic ties with Taiwan, which recently lost Panama as a diplomatic ally, allegedly under Chinese pressure.
Tsai added Taiwan and Paraguay have carried out exchanges in the fields of cultural, economic-commercial and educational cooperation for long and praised Paraguay’s global economic performance in recent years, stressing the great importance of commemorating the 60th year of ties between the two countries.
An agreement on economic cooperation was signed following the meeting between Tsai and Cartes at the presidential palace, where, besides the two presidents, Taiwan’s Minister of Economic Affairs Lee Chih-kung and Paraguayan Minister of Trade, Gustavo Leite, were also present.
The agreement includes zero tariff benefits for 54 tariff lines entry into Taiwan, including frozen beef, milk powder, orange and grapefruit juices and concentrates, cassava starch, parquet floors and other industrialized products.
It also includes promoting Taiwanese investments in Paraguay and Taiwan’s help to promote small and medium-sized enterprises in Paraguay.
Taiwan and Paraguay also exchanged notes on visa abolition and Paraguayan stamps commemorating the 60th anniversary of bilateral ties were released.
On Wednesday evening, Cartes is set to visit the National Taiwan University of Arts, while, on Thursday he will travel to the southern port city of Kaohsiung and Tainan.
Paraguay is one of the 20 countries – 11 of which are located in Latin America and the Caribbean- that recognize Taiwan as a sovereign and independent country.