Tue, Oct 07, 2003 - Page 4 News List

Taiwan overtakes China with exports of produce to Japan

CNA , TAIPEI

Taiwan has overtaken China with its exports of farm products to Japan, thanks to the high quality and safety of the Taiwanese products, an official of the Council of Agriculture (COA) said.

Chen Chia-lin, a session chief of the council's International Cooperation Department, said that Taiwan's vegetables and fruits have become increasingly popular among Japanese consumers this year.

Chen said this might have something to do with the high level of pesticides and chemical residues that have been found in green soy beans and spinach imports from China since last year.

Japan's customs officials have now increased their scrutiny of Chinese vegetable and dairy imports by raising their inspection rate from 5 percent to 20 percent of imported products, which has resulted in a large decline in China's exports to Japan.

Japanese consumers' concerns about the safety of produce from China has created a big advantage for similar Taiwanese products, Chen said.

Chao Yung-chuan (趙永全), secretary-general of the semi-official China External Trade Development Council (CETRA), said that although Taiwan's agricultural products are 20 percent more expensive than China's, the good image these goods have in Japan has cleared the way to the international market.

In a bid to sell Taiwan's agricultural products, CETRA will encourage farmers and companies to take part in international food festivals and invite foreign experts to promote international exchanges, Chao said.

According to figures released by the Directorate General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics, exports of farm products amounted to US$2.51 billion during the first eight months of this year, up 4.3 percent compared with the same period last year.

Exports to Japan have increased by 13.4 percent in the same eight-month period, while exports to Hong Kong and the US dropped by 14 percent and 8.7 percent, respectively.

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