Taiwan has imported a record volume of apples for the 12 months ending 30 June 2014, with over 160,750 tonnes being shipped to the Asian nation, according to a USDA GAIN report.
This volume eclipses the previous record of around 150,000 tonnes set in 2009/10. The value of the 2013/14 season was estimated at US$240m, up 20 per cent on the previous season.
Year-on-year import volumes from New Zealand rose by 180 per cent to 21,836 tonnes in 2013/14. This followed mport duties New Zealand apples entering Taiwan were eliminated in December 2013, when an FTA between the two nations was ratified.
Japanese apples, which account for or 10 per cent of the total apple import market in Taiwan, grew by 25 per cent in 2013/14 to 16,512 tonnes. Chilean imports increased by 50 per cent to 62,343 tonnes, making it Taiwan’s largest supplier for the season with a 39 per cent market share.
“Chile exporters offered aggressive pricing and more flexible payment terms to Taiwan importers, due to their overall small apple size, which obviously demands lower prices, as well as poor export market conditions,” according to the GAIN report.
The US is tipped to regain its former position as Taiwan’s leading supplier in MY2014/15, with the report suggesting “Taiwan importers favor U.S. apples due to its high-quality and consistent supply.” The US retained a 31 per cent market share over the 2013/14 season, despite import volumes from the North American nation falling.
Local apple production in Taiwan continues to follow a long-term decline and currently meets less than 1 per cent of domestic demand. Apples continue to be the most popular imported fruit in Taiwan, with the Fuji variety accounting for 90 per cent of total retail sales.