ARATS head visits Pingtung biotech park


KAOHSIUNG–China’s top negotiator with Taiwan, Chen Deming (陳德銘), traveled to Taiwan’s southern Pingtung County Wednesday for a visit to a biotechnology park there.

Chen, president of the Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS, 海協會), who arrived in Taiwan a day earlier on an eight-day visit, first listened to a briefing by Huang Chin-cheng (黃金城), director of the Pingtung Agricultural Biotechnology Park.

According to Huang, there are currently 73 manufacturers in the park, and the number could reach 80 by the end of year. Agricultural products produced there are exported to more than 30 countries around the world.

Huang also said that working with the country’s free trade pilot zones, the next stage of the park is to develop animal-use vaccines, aquarium fish, peripheral products and processed agricultural and fishery products.

Chen listened carefully, took notes and asked questions about the rents for manufacturers wishing to set up in the park.

Prior to his arrival at the park, members of the Falun Gong (法輪功) movement unfurled a banner outside the facility to protest China’s persecution of Falun Gong, which Beijing regards as a cult.

Chen remained calm in the face of the protesters.

Falun Gong members and local civic groups opposed to a cross-Taiwan Strait service trade agreement also staged protests at the high-speed rail station in Kaohsiung when Chen arrived there en route to Pingtung, but were kept at bay by police.

Some of the members of Chen’s delegation, who helped plan a pilot free trade zone in Shanghai, are expected to explore business opportunities in Taiwan during the visit, Chen, a former commerce minister, said.