In recent years, international agreements have also encouraged immigration to Belize from distant lands such as Taiwan (The Republic of China ROC). During the period between 1989 to 2003 a short surge in the number of Taiwanese immigrants occurred owing to the development of an economic citizenship scheme. Few of the immigrants from Taiwan brought technologies that were able to succeed and most of the immigrants either returned to Taiwan or immigrated to the United States upon gaining of their Belizean citizenship. Even though immigration from Taiwan remained low, the government of Taiwan accepted Belize as a strategic ally and has invested significantly in agriculture in Belize. Taiwanese agricultural technicians have resided in Belize since 1991 and various agricultural stations run by the Republic of China (ROC) Taiwan Technical Mission have produced improved rice seeds for sale to local farmers. The Taiwanese mission has also shared intensive vegetable production technology with local farmers. New varieties of fruits such as plums, pithaya, and guava have been introduced by the Taiwanese. The ROC mission has also introduced tropical grape production into Belize.