Taiwanese cherry imports fell significantly over 2013, according to a recent report from the USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service. Year-on-year imports dropped almost 45 per cent to 8,284 tonnes, while the overall value of the trade declined 24 per cent to be worth US$67m.
The USDA report attributed the downfall to a decrease in US production, after last year’s Pacific Northwest season was derailed by a series of weather events, including bouts of frosts, rain and extreme heat. As a result, US cherry exports to Taiwan dropped by 55 per cent in volume and 36 per cent in value over 2013. The performance seemed to have a knock-on effect, with other major suppliers - including Chile (-40%), Canada (-30%), and New Zealand (-22%) - also posted negative growth over 2013.
The US remained Taiwan’s leading cherry supplier, accounting for 55 per of shipments to the market, which is not supported by any domestic production. The USDA report highlighted that new players were slowly eroding the US’ market share, although none of them seemingly pose a threat to the US industry’s supply window over the northern hemisphere summer.
“The entry of major southern hemisphere suppliers (Australia, Chile, and New Zealand) has shifted some market share away from US suppliers in recent years,” the report concluded.
The outlook was more positive for Taiwan’s peach and nectarine imports, which rose 16 per cent in volume to 21,553m tonnes in 2013. The value of this trade increased 18 per cent to US$48m.
The US continued to dominate the Taiwan peach and nectarine import market, accounting for 76 per cent of total imports. However, Taiwanese importers could feel the pinch from strong domestic demand in the US this season.
“Trade analysts predict that peach and nectarine imports will decline by 10 per cent, falling to 19,398 tonnes in 2014/15,” the USDA report said. “The reduction in import sales is, in part, due to strong demand and favorable selling prices in the US domestic market. Taiwan importers, therefore, tend to be more conservative in placing orders with US suppliers.”
Domestic peach and nectarine production remains high in Taiwan, contributing an estimated 27,156 tons to the local market in 2013. Chilean imports are also on the rise, with the South American nation the second largest foreign supplier of the stonefruit varieties behind the US.