Overall apple imports decline in Taiwan

The glut in the imported apple market that hit Taiwan last year has left many importers wary of buying too much fruit. That's led to the lowest level of imported apples in Taiwan since 2004. But in a country that is among the biggest consumers of fresh fruit, demand has been enough to maintain strong imports; especially from the United States.

Apple imports for the 2011/2012 season totaled 118,662 MT, according to a report by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Foreign Agricultural Service. Though apples remain the most popular fruit, a flood of imports from Chile last year resulted in lower prices for importers. Careful not to repeat the same mistakes, importers have been much more cautious this season about bringing in apples. That's resulted in a decrease in apple imports by 20% from last season.

High labor and transportation costs, however, mean that local production is virtually nonexistent. For the 2011/2012 season, only 1,667 MT of apples were grown domestically on 176 hectares. Because that can satisfy only 1% of local demand, the vast majority of apples have to be imported.

Of that imported fruit, the United States supplies most of it. According to the USDA report, 42% of the imported apples in Taiwan came from the U.S. during the 2011/2012 season.

China also saw a decrease in the value of imported apples. Though the value of all fruit imports increased by 33% during Janurary through September of 2012 compared to the same period in 2011, imports fell. That decline in imports also meant a decline in the value of imports from the U.S., China's biggest foreign supplier. While sales of apples imported from the U.S. totaled $50 million in 2011, sales have amounted to $31 million in 2012.

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