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JULY 12, 2000

Forum Island Countries are to benefit from US$90,000 in funding from Taiwan for two trade-related projects being administered by the South Pacific Forum Secretariat.

The Representative for the Trade Mission of Taiwan/ROC in Suva, Fiji, Mr. C.K. Ning, handed over the funds to the Acting Secretary General of the Forum Secretariat, Mr. Iosefa Maiava, during a brief ceremony today.

"We are grateful to Taiwan for its generous assistance to the region over the years and for its continuing support of special regional programs and the work of regional organizations," Mr. Maiava said.

"Past projects funded by Taiwan have contributed significantly to important economic and social developments in the region, and we trust that this continued cooperation will further enhance the region's efforts towards sustainable development," he said.

The funds are part of a US$1,082,454 assistance package announced by Taiwan last October at the 7th Taiwan/ROC-Forum Countries Dialogue, covering 27 projects by regional organizations for 2000. The latest projects are for a Forum Island Country (FIC) investment promotion mission to Taiwan (US$52,000) and a sub-regional workshop on food processing (US$38,000)

The investment mission in 2000 is aimed at encouraging investors from Taiwan to expand into the region, bringing with them much needed capital and appropriate technology.

Such investments would help create employment; generate foreign exchange where exports are involved; increase possible savings from production for domestic use; promote local value-added processing, and enhance local skills.

Firm dates for the mission are to be finalized although the program will include seminars in Taiwan with representatives from small to medium enterprises. The seminars will cover an overview of the foreign investment climate in FICs; country presentations, and presentations by Taiwanese business people on their experiences in the Pacific Islands.

The second project, on food processing, is the sixth in a series aimed at expanding the knowledge of FIC food processors; encouraging more investment in the industry, and further developing value-added food processing.

Most FICs are heavily dependent on agriculture and food processing for both domestic economic activity, and generation of export income. While agricultural exports remain important, more emphasis is now placed on value-added food processing for higher earnings and also to meet consumer demand for a wider range of products.

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