The US for the first time became Taiwan’s largest market for exports of agricultural products, with outbound shipments in the first quarter surging 33.3 percent to US$23.2 million from a year earlier, the Council of Agriculture (COA) said yesterday.
The council’s latest report showed that the top five importers of Taiwanese agricultural produce, totaling 450,000 tonnes, in the first three months of this year were, in descending order, the US, Japan, China, Hong Kong and Vietnam.
China was the largest importer of Taiwanese produce from 2013 to last year. However, its share of Taiwanese agricultural exports fell to 14.4 percent in the first quarter of this year from 21.1 percent a year earlier.
While first-quarter exports of agricultural produce in volume terms dropped 11.6 percent from a year earlier, total export value, adjusted for inflation, was similar to the same period last year, the council said.
First-quarter exports to the US jumped 48.7 percent to 75,742 tonnes from a year earlier, council data showed.
In particular, exports to the US of soybeans, mushrooms, fresh and refrigerated produce, honey, Oncidium flexuosum orchids, moth orchids, sea bass and mackerel all posted significant growth, the council said.
Outbound shipments of agricultural products used in the hand-shaken beverage industry, such as tea leaves, tapioca flour, and pineapple and mango juices also saw sharp growth, it said.
Exports of pineapple juice jumped 440.5 percent to 72 tonnes, while exports of mango juice surged 191.6 percent to 280 tonnes, it added.
Meanwhile, exports to Japan rose 16.6 percent to US$2.07 million in the first three months of this year, council data showed.
The council expects agricultural exports in the first half of the year to follow the trend in the first quarter, COA International Division Director Lin Chia-jung (林家榮) said, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect logistics and transportation.
An upcoming trade initiative meeting with the US should further flesh out bilateral trade regulations, such as establishing a science and risk-based standard, and benefit bilateral agricultural trade, he added.
Lin was referring to the talks on the Taiwan-US Initiative on 21st Century Trade, set to be held in Washington at the end of this month.
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