President Tsai Ing-wen met with Paraguayan Minister of Finance Lea Gimenez on the afternoon of April 12. In addition to outlining the development of relations between Taiwan and Paraguay, the president expressed hope that the two countries can engage in more exchanges and work together for further development.
In remarks, President Tsai said she was delighted to meet with Minister Gimenez and Vice Minister of Education Maria del Carmen Gimenez, two outstanding female government officials. The finance minister, in particular, has close ties to Taiwan. She has made an in-depth study of the Taiwanese economy, and co-authored research with Professor Jin-Tan Liu (劉錦添), who also attended the meeting. The president said the minister was very welcome to visit Taiwan and learn more about conditions on the ground.
President Tsai mentioned that Minister Gimenez has played an important role in the development of Paraguay's economy, which has had one of the fastest growth rates in Latin America over the past few years. With a strong background in finance and economics, the minister has kept close track of global and regional economic trends, and made major contributions. The president then noted that the vice minister of education has been in charge of policies on indigenous, vocational, and arts education, all of which are important aspects of education policy in Taiwan. The two visitors were also scheduled to have meetings in Taiwan at the Ministry of Education and other government agencies, said the president, who expressed confidence that the meetings would prove fruitful.
Commenting on the development of diplomatic relations between Taiwan and Paraguay, President Tsai pointed out that the two countries have maintained formal ties for over 60 years. Paraguay's President Horacio Cartes was the first foreign visitor to meet with her after her inauguration in 2016, and Paraguay was among the countries she visited on her first overseas trip as president, which shows the strength of bilateral diplomatic ties. Over the past two years, bilateral cooperation has yielded excellent results. The Taiwan Scholarship Program, for example, is an important platform for youth exchanges. The number of scholarships offered under this program was increased last year, and will be increased again this year to 40 recipients.
Turning to bilateral economic and trade relations, President Tsai stated that Taiwan increased its annual import quota for Paraguayan beef to 10,000 metric tons last year, and will consider increasing it further as necessary. In addition, the "Agreement on Economic Cooperation between the Republic of China (Taiwan) and the Republic of Paraguay" signed when President Cartes visited Taiwan last year took effect this past February. President Tsai then said she hopes for even closer economic and trade ties with Paraguay.
In closing, President Tsai expressed hope that her two visitors would become more familiar during this trip with the latest public policy developments in Taiwan, and that the two countries can engage in more exchanges and work together for further development.