Expenditures and Activities of
Taiwan is a net importer of agricultural goods. In 1998, Taiwan’s agricultural, fishery, and wood imports totaled $7.8 billion, with 31 percent being supplied by the United States. Taiwan’s agricultural and fishery exports totaled $3.2 billion. The two most important destinations for Taiwan’s farm and fishery exports were Japan and the United States, with 33 percent, by value, going to Japan, and 13 percent to the United States. Most of Taiwan’s agricultural production is consumed domestically. Public funds for promoting agricultural exports are less than $1 million. No programs are funded by local or regional authorities to promote agricultural exports. Private sector export promotion programs are limited to fruit, fishery products, and processed foods. Formerly, Taiwan’s most important farm export was pork to Japan; this market was lost in 1997 due to an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in Taiwan.
Taiwan’s Promotional Activities
Taiwan’s FY 1998/99 food product export promotion support totaled $780,000 from the Council of Agriculture (COA), and $180,000 from the Board of Foreign Trade (BOFT), mainly to finance private industry participation in international food shows. A small portion of the money was used for media educational programs. Taiwan regional authorities are not involved in export promotion work.
The Taiwan Fruit Marketing Cooperative promotes trade. It is a non-profit cooperative, representing 80,000 fruit grower members. The majority of its exporting members produce bananas, with small amounts of citrus, mangos, litchee, carambola, and other fresh fruit. The only export check-off collected by the cooperative is $0.05 per case (12.5 kg) for bananas. The cooperative’s 1998 budget for export promotion programs totaled $100,000, 10 percent of which was spent in the United States.The Taiwan Eel Development Foundation collects an export check-off on live eel and processed eel exports. Market promotion programs, with a total value estimated at $0.2 million in 1998, focused on the Japanese market. The export check-off collected by the Taiwan Shrimp Development Foundation was eliminated in May 1998. There is currently no export promotion program for shrimp because domestic demand exceeds supply and Taiwan shrimp sells better domestically than it does internationally.
Income support programs for rice and sugar account for the majority of Taiwan’s export support. In 1998, 21 percent of Taiwan’s paddy rice was sold to the central authorities at fixed prices. Taiwan’s 1998 rice export subsidy equaled $20.6 million.
The Taiwan Sugar Corporation (TSC), a central authority enterprise, is Taiwan’s monopoly sugar producer and trader. Sugar production in Taiwan is no longer profitable, as production costs are about twice the world price. Taiwan exports a small amount of sugar to the United States, under its sugar quota. Taiwan’s 1998 sugar export subsidy equaled $5 million.
Australia, Japan, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, New Zealand, Canada, various European countries, and Argentina compete with the United States in Taiwan. Trade show participation is a major activity for all competitors. A major annual show is the Taipei International Food Industry Show. Many competitors hold in-store promotions and organize food festivals at major hotels.
Taiwan is a major export market for Australian food products. Red meat is the main focus of Australia’s marketing efforts, but other products, including seafood, dairy products, fruits and vegetables, and beverages also receive attention. The Australian Meat and Livestock Corporation (AMLC) has been marketing beef in Taiwan for the past seven years, spending over $200,000 annually. In 1997, the AMLC office closed, but it continued aggressive promotional activities through a local public relations agency. The AMLC reportedly spends an average of $50,000 annually to organize a buyers’ mission to visit meat processing facilities in Australia.
Agricultural products are among Canada’s leading exports to Taiwan, and processed food products are becoming increasingly popular with Taiwan consumers. Increasing value-added food exports to Taiwan is the Canadian Trade Office in Taipei’s (CTOT) highest priority. Canada had the largest country pavilion in the "1999 Taipei International Food Show," displaying wine, beef, canola oil, seafood, nuts, organic products, cookies, candies, pet foods, snack foods, and other goods. It co-sponsored menu promotions with well-known international hotels and in-store promotions in department stores. The Taiwan office of the Canada Beef Export Federation (CBEF) also conducted a beef carcass fabrication demonstration for beef traders and retailers. The promotion schedule was published in major Taiwan newspapers. The CBEF currently spends $350,000 to $400,000 in Taiwan annually to promote beef and veal. The CBEF organizes two 8- to 10-person buyer missions each year to visit meat processing facilities in Canada, at a cost of approximately $4,000 per person.
New Zealand is the top supplier of dairy products and kiwifruit to Taiwan. Its other major agricultural exports include meat, wood and wood products, wool, edible oil, vegetables, and seafood. New Zealand organized a country pavilion at the Taipei International Food Show, mainly displaying health food, honey, deer horn, meat, dairy products, ice cream, seafood, wine, beverages, fruits, and processed foods. The New Zealand Apple and Pear Board conducted a newspaper advertising campaign to promote New Zealand Fuji apples. Also, Meat New Zealand conducted meat cutting and display seminars for local retailers, wholesalers, and distributors in Taipei.
European countries focus primarily on marketing wine in Taiwan. France is the top supplier of wine to Taiwan in both volume and value. The French Food Institute (SOPEXA) conducts seminars, menu promotions, and wine and cheese fairs in Taiwan. Spain participates in trade fairs and mainly promotes wine and olive oil in Taiwan. Germany has established a German Wine Information Service in Taipei, and also promotes chocolate products, beer and processed foods.
Norway is the primary supplier of salmon to Taiwan, with 54 percent of the market in 1998. For the past few years, the Taipei office of the Norway Board of Foreign Trade (NBFT) has conducted a large-scale Norwegian salmon menu promotion, including a Norwegian Salmon Winter Feast, in Taiwan’s major hotels and restaurants. The NFBT is currently focusing its marketing efforts on in-store promotions in supermarkets and hypermarkets.