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Cablegate: Taipei Reply On Information Request to Support Apec Food

VZCZCXRO7828
PP RUEHAST RUEHCHI RUEHCN RUEHDH RUEHFK RUEHGH RUEHHM RUEHKSO RUEHLN
RUEHMA RUEHNAG RUEHPB RUEHPOD RUEHSL RUEHTM RUEHTRO RUEHVC
DE RUEHIN #1184 2731022
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 301022Z SEP 09
FM AIT TAIPEI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 2415
INFO RUEHZU/APEC COLLECTIVE
RUEHOO/CHINA POSTS COLLECTIVE
RUEHZN/ENVIRONMENT SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY COLLECTIVE
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHINGTON DC
RUEHRC/USDA FAS WASHDC 2760

UNCLAS TAIPEI 001184

STATE FOR EAP/EP RYAN MACFARLANE
STATE PASS USTR/ERIC ALTBACH AND JARED RAGLAND
USDA FAS FOR OCRA/RADLER, BEILLARD, PETLOCK; OBCD/OWENS; AND
OFSO/WAINIO
COMMERCE FOR 4431/ITA/MAC/AP/OPB/TAIWAN

SENSITIVE

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ECON EAGR EAID ETRD KGHG PGOV APEC TW
SUBJECT: TAIPEI REPLY ON INFORMATION REQUEST TO SUPPORT APEC FOOD
SECURITY INITIATIVES

Reference: State 9650

1. (SBU) Summary: Taiwan has few domestic food-security concerns,
but relies on imported food for 65 percent of its people's diet.
Taiwan's main food-security concern is that, without access to most
international organizations that address food security, Taiwan can
neither access the latest information on food-related issues, nor
provide domestic ideas, technology, and funding for reducing food
insecurity in the APEC region. End summary.

2. (SBU) On September 25, econoff met with Liang-yu Wang, Chief of
the Taiwan Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) Department of
International Organizations APEC Task Force, and Tracy Tarng, Chief
of the Council of Agriculture (COA) International Organizations
Section, International Affairs Department.

3. (SBU) According to Tarng and Wang, Taiwan has few domestic
food-security concerns. Although Taiwan is a mountainous, densely
populated island, and is therefore only able to supply domestically
about 35 percent of the calories its people consume, Taiwan makes up
the rest through imports, mostly from the United States. [Note:
Taiwan relies on the U.S. for virtually all of its wheat, corn, and
soybean imports. End note.] Taiwan holds a three-month security
reserve of 300,000 tons of rice. Tarng and Wang think a blockade of
Taiwan by a hostile power is unlikely, and are therefore not overly
concerned about the island's reliance on imported food.

4. (SBU) According to Ms. Wang, Taiwan's main regional
food-security concern is that the island is not a member of, and has
no access to, key international organizations that address food
security. Ms. Tarng pointed out that in 2007, due to rising oil
prices, grains such as soybeans and corn were diverted to produce
energy, causing international price fluctuations that deeply
affected Taiwan. Tarng added that, as a food-importing island and a
technologically-advanced economy, Taiwan could both benefit from
information exchange and dialogue with international organizations,
and contribute ideas, technology, and funding for reducing food
insecurity in the APEC region.

5. (SBU) Tarng told econoff that Taiwan has been very active in
food-aid programs since the 1960s, but over the past decade, in line
with recommendations from the United Nations and other international
aid organizations, has shifted to providing financial aid in lieu of
direct food aid. Taiwan also organizes agricultural technical
missions to assist countries, especially its remaining diplomatic
allies, in improving farm yields, irrigations systems, and basic
agricultural infrastructure.

STANTON

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