Jindal holds meetings in Taiwan

Gov. Bobby Jindal sent a postcard from Taiwan on Monday, sharing snapshots from the first leg of his Asia trip.

So far, Jindal has met with Taiwan President Ma Ying-Jeou and Formosa executives, according to the governor’s press office. No media was allowed to accompany the governor. His press office emailed a short statement early Monday morning.

Jindal and Ma discussed economics. According to Jindal’s office, Taiwan imports agricultural, energy and chemical products from Louisiana.

The Central News Agency in Taipei reported that Jindal pledged friendship and sharing. The governor stressed that Taiwan was an important trading partner for Louisiana and in the U.S. Taiwanese news coverage also noted that Jindal’s first visit on his first trip abroad as governor was to Taiwan, which calls itself the Republic of China.

Ma apparently used the meeting to highlight Taiwan’s efforts to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership. The U.S., Japan, Mexico, Singapore and other world powers are negotiating TPP as a massive trade agreement. Taiwan expressed interest last year but has not been invited to participate in the talks.

Jindal tweeted a picture of himself posing with Ma. The photograph shows that Jindal’s wife, Supriya, accompanied the governor on the trip.

While in Taiwan, the governor also met with Formosa officials. Formosa Plastics, an offshoot of the Taiwan-based Formosa Plastics Group, operates a chemical manufacturing subsidiary in north Baton Rouge. The site produces feedstock materials, electricity and steam.

Jindal met with Susan Wang, vice chairman of the Formosa Plastics Group executive board, and C.T. Lee, chairman of the Formosa Plastics Corporation. They reportedly discussed business growth opportunities in Louisiana.

Jindal characterized his three-country visit to Asia as a job-creation mission. He said he is looking for business opportunities on Louisiana’s behalf. From Taiwan, he heads to Seoul, South Korea, Tuesday before going to Japan. He returns to the U.S. on Saturday.

The total cost of the trip is unclear. Jindal’s campaign paid for his plane ticket, but taxpayers appear to be picking up the bulk of the tab.