As China was banning various Taiwanese fruits, ranging from pineapples to wax apples and custard apples, fruit exports to other markets surged by 137% during the first half of the year.
This means Taiwan’s diversification of markets for its fruit exports has already shown success, according to Council of Agriculture Minister Chen Chi-chung. The 137% rise from January to June 2021 compared to the same period last year included a surge of 272% for fruit exports to Japan.
The sale of Taiwanese fruit to South Korea rose by 53% during the first half of 2021 and to the United States by 10%. This means that for the first time in five years, Taiwan exported more fruit to other destinations than to China. While in 2016, 98.3% of exported pomelos ended up in China, by 2019 the proportion had dropped to 88.5% and by 2020 to 70%.
According to taiwannews.com.tw, Chen said the changes not only reduced Taiwanese farmers’ reliance on the Chinese market but also introduced more consumers overseas to the rich variety of fruit from Taiwan.
Working to resolve technical plant quarantine issues
Despite this, Taiwan's Council of Agriculture (COA) said yesterday it is hoping to resolve technical plant quarantine issues with China based on World Trade Organization norms following Beijing's ban on Taiwanese custard apples and wax apples.
China's customs administration on Sunday said that it would suspend imports of custard apples and wax apples from Taiwan starting Monday due to the presence of mealybugs in shipments of those fruits on "multiple occasions" this year, without providing any other details.
When asked what Taiwan could do to help local farmers in the wake of the ban other than providing subsidies and promoting domestic sales, Chen Chi-chung said there were precedents for handling plant quarantine disputes with China.