(Daily Montanan) Gov. Greg Gianforte met this week with President Tsai Ing-wen of Taiwan to strengthen Montana’s relationship with its longstanding partner and ally, according to a news release from the Governor’s Office.

“Montana and Taiwan share nearly four decades of history as trading partners and friends, built on our common values of individual liberty, innovation, and free enterprise,” Gov. Gianforte said in a statement. “It was an honor to meet with President Tsai this morning to convey our appreciation for this longstanding partnership and our optimism for the future.”

Last year, Taiwan purchased more than $107 million in goods from Montana, according to the Governor’s Office.

President Tsai hosted Gov. Gianforte at the Presidential Office Building in Taipei for the meeting.

“I would like to begin by welcoming Governor Gianforte as he leads this economic and trade delegation,” President Tsai said in a statement provided by the Governor’s Office.

“On behalf of the people of Taiwan, I extend our sincere gratitude to him for making Taiwan the first stop of his trip. I am also grateful to Governor Gianforte for reopening the State of Montana Asia Trade Office-Taiwan after taking office in 2021 to continue strengthening bilateral economic and trade cooperation through concrete action.”

President Tsai continued, “Since taking office, Governor Gianforte has also been keen to promote tax incentive and deregulation legislation. This has created more job opportunities and enhanced the investment climate.”

During the meeting, the governor and president reflected on Montana and Taiwan’s sister-state relationship and discussed opportunities for economic collaboration.

On Sunday evening, the governor attended a welcome dinner for members of the delegation hosted by the Montana Grain Growers Association. Wheat represents Montana’s largest and most consistent export to Taiwan, totaling $32 million in sales last year, according to the Governor’s Office.

Taiwan is also an important market for Montana cattle producers, with $16 million of Montana beef exported to Taiwan last year, the Governor’s Office said.