US and Japan oust China as top agricultural export market

  • By Yang Yuan-ting and Jonathan Chin / Journalist, with an editor

The United States and Japan replaced China as the biggest buyers of Taiwanese agricultural products in the first half of this year, the Council of Agriculture said on Tuesday as it discussed its market diversification strategy.

The top three buyers of Taiwanese agricultural products were the United States, Japan and China between January and last month, which accounted for 18.6%, 16.4% and 13.7% of exported goods respectively, the official said. advice.

Taiwan exported 948,000 tons of agricultural products in the first six months of this year, down 13.6 percent from 1,097,000 tons in the same period last year, the council said.

Photo: ANC

The value of agricultural exports in the first half was NT$2.62 billion (US$87.58 million), down 5.5 percent from NT$277 billion in the same period last year.

The fastest growing exports to the US market were fruits, juices, tea, cassava starch, pastries and snacks, with export volumes increasing by up to 40%, he indicated.

The overall decline in exports is the result of weather-related production instabilities, said Lin Chih-hung (林志鴻), deputy director general of the council’s International Affairs Department.

High global shipping costs caused by the COVID-19 pandemic account for the rest of the decline, he said.

China’s bans on Taiwanese farmed fruits and fish have hurt local sectors that have long relied on China as their main overseas buyer, Lin said, adding that the council remains optimistic about the future. its ability to find alternative markets in the second half.

Formerly Taiwan’s largest agricultural trading partner, China accounted for more than 20% of the sector’s exports from 2015 to last year.

The trend changed in the first half of this year, with China’s share of Taiwan’s fruit exports falling from 84% to 1.8% due to concerns about risks in its market.

Taiwan is gradually withdrawing from the Chinese market, a move largely driven by high levels of uncertainty created by Beijing, said Roy Chun Lee (李淳), deputy director general of the Taiwan WTO & RTA Center at the Chung-Hua Institution for Research. economic.

Taiwan’s growing exports to the United States, Japan and Europe are beneficial to the development of Taiwan’s agricultural sector and help avoid political risks, he said.

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