UK hopes for Taiwan approval on pork exports

By Dinah Gardner, in Taipei

- Last updated on GMT

UK hopes for Taiwan approval on pork exports

Related tags International trade Taiwan Pork

The UK’s Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) has said if Taiwan lifts its current ban on British pork exports this year, it hopes to see the industry sell about US$15 million’s worth of the meat to the island in the first full year.

“I think it is probably premature to speculate on volumes but based on the comparable performance of our competitors we might expect to export anything around 5,000 tonnes with a value around USD15 million,”​ Peter Hardwick, AHDB’s head of exports told GlobalMeatNews.  “As a comparison, Denmark exported around 10,000 tonnes to Taiwan in 2016.”

Currently Taiwan does not allow UK pork imports on health grounds but a Taiwanese delegation to inspect the UK pig industry took place last autumn, one of the final stages needed in a lengthy process to get exports authorised.

Taiwan is an especially attractive market because it has the highest meat consumption per capita in Asia (about 90kg) according to a 2017 report by Flanders Investment & Trade and pork is the most popular meat in the county (about 10 times as popular as beef). While 90% of its pork needs are met domestically, there is scope for exporters especially in the food catering and variety meats (offal) segments, because local production is expected to shrink and demand to grow, the report added.

Figures from market researcher Euromonitor International also confirm that there is space for British exports, with Taiwan’s total pork consumption expected to rise. Viviane Zhu, the company’s communications executive for Greater China said that total pork consumption in Taiwan should rise around 9,300 tonnes in 2018 over 2017 to 922,200 tonnes, and add another 5,400 tonnes in 2019.

Hardwick however sounded cautious on total volume since Taiwan’s import market is very variable. “Total import volumes to Taiwan vary considerably. Taiwan imported 80,000 tonnes of pork and ‘variety meats’ ​(offal) in 2015 and around 60,000 tonnes in 2016. This affects the market opportunity of course and with higher total imports, the UK might expect to ship a bit more.”

If the UK does get the go ahead, it will be up against some strong existing major pork exporters to Taiwan – Canada, Spain, Holland, Denmark and Hungary. UK would do well to learn from Spain and aim at the high-end market. Madrid only won approval to export to Taiwan at the end of 2014 but has secured one quarter of the export share with its famous Iberico pig meat product brand, a Flanders’ report noted.

When GlobalMeatNews contacted the British Office Taipei, a spokesperson said: “We’re working with the Taiwanese authorities to try and resolve the remaining steps that would see Taiwan opening its market to British pork as soon as possible.”

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