While economic growth slowed in 2012, the economy is forecast to recover in 2013, so Taiwan will continue to offer good opportunities for a wide range of U.S. products.
THIS REPORT CONTAINS ASSESSMENTS OF COMMODITY AND TRADE ISSUES MADE BY
USDA STAFF AND NOT NECESSARILY STATEMENTS OF OFFICIAL U.S. GOVERNMENT
Required Report - public distribution
GAIN Report Number: TW12051
Taiwan: Top Ten Market & Springboard to Asia
Jeffrey Hesse, Chief,
Agricultural Section, AIT
D.R. Seckinger, Consular Officer, AIT
Amy Chang-Chien Hsueh, Agricultural
Marketing Specialist, ATO Taipei
In 2011, Taiwan was the sixth largest market for U.S. food and agricultural products with imports of US$3.7 billion. While
economic growth slowed in 2012, the economy is forecast to recover in 2013, so Taiwan will continue to offer good
opportunities for a wide range of U.S. products. In addition, U.S. exporters have successfully used Taiwan as a springboard
into China and other Asian markets, taking advantage of close cultural, language and business ties.
I. Market Overview
Although it is a small island (about the size of Maryland and Delaware combined) with a population
of only 23 million people, Taiwan has developed into one of the world's largest economic and
trading entities. Over the past decade, Taiwan has transformed itself from a light industry-
manufacturing base to a global center for the production of high technology products. With a
nominal Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of $466.9 billion in 2011, Taiwan is the world's 24th largest
economy, as well as the 6th largest economy in Asia. In 2011, Taiwan had an estimated per capita
GDP of $20,782 ($39,891 when calculated in terms of Purchasing Power Parity). Overall, Taiwan is
the United States’ 10th largest trading partner and 15th largest export market. To put these
numbers in perspective, U.S. trade with Taiwan is greater than with either India or Brazil.
Because the Taiwan economy is heavily dependent on exports, external uncertainties related to the
European debt crisis and the U.S. budget debate affected Taiwan's economic growth in 2011. With
export growth starting to slow in the second half of 2011, Taiwan's economy grew by 4.07 percent
in 2011 -- a pace lower than expected and well below the 10.76 percent expansion recorded in
2010. For 2012, Taiwan's GDP growth slowed further to an estimated 1.1 percent, but the
economy is showing signs of recovery and GDP is now forecast to expand by about 3.1 percent in
2013. Inflationary pressures have been moderate, with consumer prices increasing by about 1.59
percent year-over-year in November 2012. Taiwan's unemployment rate was 4.33 percent in
November compared with the 2011 average of 4.39 percent. Taiwan currently has the fourth-
largest foreign exchange reserves in the world, with US$401.0 billion as of December 2012. The
New Taiwan dollar (NTD) exchange rate closed at NTD30.3 per USD at 2011 year-end, improving
to about NTD29.1 per USD in December.
Taiwan’s Economic Situation, 2008-2012:
2008 2009 2010 2011 (estimated 2012 ) (forecast)
GDP ($billions) 400.1 377.5 428.2 464.0 473.7
GDP per capita (USD) 17,399 16,359 18,503 20,006 20,364
Economic Growth (%) + 0.73 -1.81 10.76 4.07 1.13
USD NTD Exchange Rate 1 31.5 1 33.1 1 31.7 1 30.3 1 29.1
Source: National Statistics Taiwan
Taiwan is the largest foreign investor in mainland China, where Taiwan companies have invested
heavily in electronic parts and components, computers and optoelectronics, electrical equipment,
metal products, plastics, food processing and other sectors. Official reports place the level of
investment at nearly US$113 billion, but unofficial estimates speculate the amount may be two to
three times higher. Taiwan firms located in China are among China's largest exporters.
On June 29, 2010, Taiwan and China concluded the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement
(ECFA), a pact designed in part to help Taiwan exporters stay competitive with the Association of
Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) following the signing of the "ASEAN plus 1" trade agreement
with the PRC. ECFA is a preferential trade agreement designed to reduce barriers to trade and
investment gradually. Only in its second year of implementation, the economic benefits of ECFA to
Taiwan are not yet easily measurable.
The economy has created numerous jobs and economic opportunities, but the most ambitious
currently believe that places like Shanghai and the Pearl River Delta offer greater rewards, with an
estimated 1 million Taiwanese or about 5% of the population living in China on any given day.
This drain of the best and brightest reduces the likelihood that the next great company created by
Taiwanese will be started in Taiwan. The U.S. has benefited with companies such as Youtube,
Yahoo, and Nvidia being started by Taiwanese Americans. In immediate terms, it means a
shrinking middle class, albeit with growing income across the income spectrum. Taiwan has a far
more balanced income distribution than the U.S., but growth will likely come in the luxury and
budget categories of the retail market.
This specialization in high value added production, coupled with a limited supply of arable land and
one of the more densely populated regions in the world has forced Taiwan to increasingly
outsource agricultural production. Taiwan’s services industry has been growing steadily from
about 50% of GDP in 1988 to 68.7% of GDP in 2011. At the same time, agriculture and
manufactured goods have been decreasing and now represent only 1.7% and 29.6% of GDP.
Taiwan’s major exports are industrial goods, while major imports are agricultural goods, industrial
raw materials, and machinery.
Taiwan’s Imports and Exports, 2008-2011:
2008 2009 2010 2011
Total Exports (US$ million) 255,629 203,675 274,600 308,300
Exports to China (%) 26 % 27 % 28% 27%
Exports to the U.S. (%) 12 % 12 % 11% 12%
Exports to Japan (%) 7 % 7 % 7% 6%
Total Imports (US$ million) 240,448 174,371 251,236 281,600
Imports from China (%) 13 % 14 % 15% 16%
Imports from U.S. (%) 11 % 10 % 10% 9%
Imports from Japan (%) 19 % 21 % 21% 19%
Source: Directorate General for Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS)
Geography and Demographics
Taiwan is located off the southeast coast of mainland China, directly across the Taiwan Strait from
Fujian province, southwest of Japan and north of the Philippines. About two-thirds of Taiwan is
covered with mountainous terrain, while the remaining one-third is mostly gently rolling plains,
where the bulk of the population lives. Taiwan has several outlying islands, including Jinmen,
which is within sight of the city of Xiamen in China. Taiwan is prone to natural disasters, with a
high frequency of earthquakes, typhoons and mudslides. The island is linked by a high-speed rail
line that connects the two largest cities in 1.5 hours, and a good road network, allowing for easy
movement of goods and people around the island.
With a population of just over 23 million and a total land area of nearly 36,000 square kilometers,
Taiwan is very densely populated -- about 637 persons per square kilometer. Located in the
northern part of Taiwan, the capital, Taipei, has a population of over 2.6 million. The second and
third largest cities in Taiwan are Kaohsiung in the south, with about 1.5 million people, and
Taichung, in the center of the island, with one million people.
Taiwan has one of the lowest birthrates in the world at 7.21 births per 1000 people, which is
causing a rapidly aging population. Senior citizens already make up over 10% of the island’s
population, a figure that will continue to rise. Over the last 30 years, the median age of Taiwan
has increased from 23 to 37. The numbers of births have fallen by half in the last 15 years. There
is also a significant increase in age of motherhood, as the number of children born of women
younger than 24 has fallen by 90% in the last 30 years. The most common age bracket for giving
birth is now 30-34 with the greatest growth coming from the 35-39 range. Average household size
has also dropped from 4.66 to 2.92 in that 30-year span.
This low birthrate is due to a number of changes in the family structure of Taiwan including the
increasing frequency of women working outside of the home, couples deciding not to have
children, and the growth of nuclear families. Eating and consumption patterns have changed to
reflect these trends with a growth in the number of people frequenting restaurants, consuming
prepared foods, trying more foreign dishes, and eating healthier food in the pursuit of ways to
spend their increasing level of disposable income.
2007 2008 2009 2010
Birth Rates (%) 8.9 8.6 8.3 7.2
Death Rate (%) 6.2 6.3 6.2 6.3
Age 0 – 14 years (%) 18 17 16 15.7
Age 15 – 64 years (%) 72 73 73 73.6
Age 65+ years (%) 10 10 11 10.7
II. Exporter Business Tips
Except for large exporting companies that maintain their own representative offices in Taiwan, the
appointment of an import agent is a critical decision for most exporters. The U.S. Agricultural
Trade Office (ATO) in Taipei, the local offices of U.S. commodity groups or other trade associations
such as the American Chamber of Commerce or the Import and Export Association of Taipei can
provide invaluable background information and assist in other ways.
Although factors will vary from case to case, key issues to be considered include:
What is the extent of the agent’s network of distributors, owned or leased storage capacity,
and owned or leased transport arrangements? In particular, does the agent have strong
contacts with the responsible purchasing officers in the target sales channels?
Does the agent have a high proportion of direct-to-market channels or are they heavily
dependent on multiple distribution levels?
Is the agent developing added-value communications and promotions or are they
dependent on price discounts as the major sales tool?
Does the agent have complementary product lines? Although cases vary, exclusivity can
provide better incentives to the agent and can help the exporter to maintain improved
supervision over price and product integrity.
Does the agent have connections to the mainland China market for future sales expansion
Taiwan’s convenience store, supermarket, and hypermarket chains generally purchase from local
importers, wholesalers, and manufacturers. The company may attempt to import directly if they
are convinced on the suitability of the product. The best method to reach Taiwan’s retail buyers
and prospective importers initially is to contact them directly via e-mail or fax. Product catalogues
and price lists are essential, and samples are very helpful. U.S. suppliers can obtain lists of Taiwan
retail stores and importers from the ATO in Taipei.
A visit to Taiwan is imperative in establishing meaningful relationships with Taiwan buyers.
Personal relationships and face-to-face meetings are very important in Asian cultures. It is
advisable to bring along samples to meetings with potential buyers while visiting Taiwan, as many
importers and retailers rely heavily upon subjective factors when deciding on new products to
represent. Product design and packaging is important. Taiwan is very densely populated with a
high cost of urban housing. The average Taiwanese lives in an apartment with their family, and
space is at a premium. Taiwanese keep a low inventory of food and in general prefer smaller units
than would be typically sold in the U.S. Taiwan is very rich retail environment, and the average
urban resident lives within a block or two of a convenience store or supermarket, in addition to a
number of restaurants. It is necessary for producers of packaged goods to understand the market
and its constraints to tailor their products to the Taiwanese consumer.
The typical Taiwan businessman usually has several interests rather than a single product line. As
the incomes of Taiwanese consumers increase, so does their taste in new products. In order to
meet the increasing demand, importers constantly keep seeking for new products, including new-
to-market products and new brands of certain products. For new products, it is important that
they are supported by advertising and promotion budget to generate brand awareness. On the
other hand, many importers follow the customary Taiwanese pattern of collecting basic information
(samples, catalogues, prices, supply schedules, etc.) and a trial order may be used to test the
market response. Companies might ask the producer to support the costs associated with stocking
and selling new products. Importers generally specialize in a certain product category, and often
join with other importers to consolidate shipments for lower overall risks and costs.
Taiwan Import Distribution Channel Flow Diagram
U.S. Expor ter
Taiwan Retail/HRI/Processing Trade
Sales and Marketing
Although sales and marketing techniques in Taiwan are in a process of evolution and development,
there remains a high reliance on price discounts in promotional strategies. To minimize reliance on
discounting strategies, U.S. food and beverage suppliers, particularly those in higher added-value
categories, may benefit from a focus on market education and sales training to develop brand
recognition (demand-pull) and consumer preference. Advertising and promotion are essential for
In the sale of new food products, cooking demonstrations are very important is educating the
consumer in how to properly utilize the product. Especially with higher cost items, Taiwanese are
unlikely to buy an item that they are not comfortable using in the kitchen. Japanese chefs often
perform demonstrations in supermarkets for new products. If you are considering selling a
product not traditionally used in Taiwanese cooking, be prepared to overcome initial obstacles as
you devise a strategy to educate consumers.
Consumer concerns for personal and family health means that foods and beverages believed to
provide specific health or nutritional benefits can and often do earn a retail premium above what
the market normally bears. Taiwanese consumers tend to be less concerned about cost when
shopping for products believed to provide benefits and may alter purchasing habits in order to
include these foods and beverages in their diets. Bakery products, confectioneries, soups, oils and
fats, and a wide range of nutritional supplements are just a few examples of product categories for
which marketing strategies founded in nutritional and health messages have proven highly
successful. Consumers also receive a great deal of sensational news about food safety, which is
causing increased concerns and skepticism. This may provide opportunities for U.S. companies to
promote brand value through emphasis on natural products and food safety issues.
Taiwan Business Customs
Taiwan businessmen are often refreshingly direct and informal in their business approaches, and
do not have strict business rituals found in other countries. Nonetheless, there are some local
customs that are well worth observing. Greetings and gifts to mark major festivals such as the
Mid-Autumn Moon Festival and Chinese New Year are common. These holidays are key sales
periods, similar to Thanksgiving and Christmas. U.S. companies should consider advanced timing
of introducing new products to coincide with these busy holiday gift giving seasons. For example,
baking companies will purchase ingredients as early as April or May for moon cake sales during the
Mid-Autumn Moon Festival period, which falls around October. Therefore, the introduction of a new
ingredient in August to be used in moon cake production would most likely not be considered until
the next year.
Although agents and purchasing managers are always searching for new products, they are also
very thorough in their evaluations of products. They prefer to see product samples whenever
possible and will often place small initial shipments to test the market response.
One of the most popular recreations in Taiwan is eating. Even first meetings may often be over
lunch or dinner. In Taiwan, entertaining is not only a basic tool to influence business relationships,
but also considered essential to building friendships that can enhance mutual understanding. Food
and eating are important parts of Taiwanese culture and every type of Chinese cuisine is available
in the Taiwan market. More and more ethnic foods and becoming popular every day, but a local
“Taiwan flavor” is maintained. Taiwan businessmen are always very gracious and will invite trade
contacts to dinner and drinking toasts can usually be expected, although the high alcohol content
“gao-liang” is reserved for special occasions. However, it is common to enjoy red wine with meals
and a light amount of toasting each other is important in developing trust and long-term
In establishing a relationship with a Taiwanese business, focus on the long term benefits to both
parties. During this current time of economic difficulty in the U.S., many companies are branching
out to new export markets. When the U.S. market recovers, it is important that companies
maintain the relationships that they have built, and not again retreat into the U.S. market. Some
Taiwanese companies have complained that U.S. producers only look to Taiwan during times of
distress and ignore them during normal cycles. This forces the Taiwanese firms to purchase from
more stable supplies, regardless of price or quality benefits of the U.S. producer. Exporting to any
market is difficult in the initial set up, but also needs to be maintained over the years.
Speaking Mandarin is not essential to doing business in Taiwan. Many people in Taiwan speak
English, and translators are easy to find. However, written materials such as business cards and
product brochures will be far more helpful if translated into Mandarin. Unlike mainland China,
Taiwan uses traditional Chinese characters.
Many Taiwanese strive to send their children to the U.S.’s finest universities for higher education
with Taiwan ranked 6th in number of foreign students in the U.S. Therefore, a large percentage of
Taiwan residents speak fluent English, have lived or studied in the United States, and are
intimately familiar with American customs, food, and culture. For example, Costco Wholesale
currently has six successful stores throughout Taiwan that are constantly full of customers
demanding access to the same products they were accustomed to finding at U.S. Costco stores. It
is estimated that more than 70% of Costco’s inventory is imported, mostly from the United States.
Due to the high level of recognition of English words in Taiwan, western brands will often maintain
their original names. For example, McDonalds in Taiwan is not called Mai Dang Lao as it is in
China, but will be spelled identically with a Taiwanese accented pronunciation. The same occurs
for Starbucks, as opposes to Xin Ba Ke in China. Kuang Chuan dairy uses the slogan I (heart) Milk
in English as it is widely understood and provides a certain cachet to the product. Many Taiwanese
singers will use English words and phrases to add flavor. Most Taiwanese in Taipei will also have
English names and will commonly use them, even with other Taiwanese. These short English
phrases or names are used for effect, in much the way and American would throw in a Spanish
Foods Standards and Regulations
U.S. companies are advised to keep in mind the strict product labeling requirements enforced in
Taiwan, which require that any health or nutritional claim be first assessed and approved by the
Taiwan Department of Health (DOH) prior to inclusion on product packaging. The label must also
be translated into Mandarin. For more information regarding DOH labeling requirements and food
standards, especially for recently imposed requirements for organic food products, please contact
our Agricultural Trade Office or see our latest Food and Agricultural Import Regulations and
Standards (FAIRS) report:
III. Market Sector Structure and Trends
Because only one quarter of the land is arable, Taiwan relies heavily on imports for many of its
food products. Taiwan’s economy is geared to technology and manufacturing, and agriculture is a
minor and diminishing aspect of the domestic economy. Taiwan is focused on other areas of
growth with the long-term trend favoring greater imports. Domestically, Taiwan produces rice,
sugar, yams, tea, pork and poultry, and fruits and vegetables. Taiwan’s main agricultural imports
come from the U.S. and consist of soybeans and coarse grains.
Taiwan in particular is a attractive market for pork, tree nuts, dairy products, pet food, and fresh
fruit, and due to the large number of Taiwanese that have lived, studied, or have relatives in the
U.S., knowledge and familiarity of U.S. brands and products is strong.
Advantages and Challenges for U.S. Exporters
Taiwan consumers maintain a generally U.S. exporters face low price competitors in areas
positive perception of and consume many such as juice and vegetables.
U.S. food and agricultural products.
Consumers are strongly attracted by High market fragmentation makes it hard for U.S.
novelty and fashion in food products and exporters to achieve scale and scope advantages in
services. terms of volume.
Taiwan is highly dependent on agricultural Taiwan is the United State's 6th largest market for
imports from the United States, agricultural exports, but is often overlooked by U.S.
particularly grain and oilseed products. suppliers eager to export directly to mainland China.
Taiwan importers are familiar with and U.S. exporters are sometimes reluctant to change
trust U.S. grading and food safety product specifications to comply with Taiwan
standards. requirements/consumer preferences.
Taiwan consumers are brand-conscious Many U.S. companies are unwilling to provide low
and America is a leader in food brands volume, consolidated shipments of high-value
that set trends. products to food service companies.
Taiwan’s population is highly educated, Geographically, the U.S. is much farther from Taiwan
well-traveled and extremely aware of than many major competitors, and the lack of direct
global foodservice brands. air links by major American airlines reduces the profile
of Taiwan to U.S. exporters.
The popularity of American holidays and Taiwan’s emerging “green” tendencies have a
culture/lifestyle lead to promotional potential to favor domestic foods by discouraging the
events organized around these themes by consumption of imported foods and reducing the
Taiwan restaurants and hotels throughout “carbon footprint” associated with imported products.
A wide variety of U.S. chains or Taiwan’s birth rate is among the lowest in the world,
American-themed restaurants in Taiwan and population growth is expected to become negative
provide opportunities to sample in coming years.
“authentic” American cuisine and
Taiwan enjoys higher purchasing power Taiwan consumers maintain a preference for “fresh”
and a growing tourism sector. food products over “frozen.”
Increasing growth of fast food chains and
casual dining restaurants is key to sector
The chart below illustrates Taiwan’s top ten suppliers of food and agricultural products:
Taiwan Food and Agricultural Imports - 2011 Market Share
New Zealand 5%
Source: Global Trade Atlas (GTA)
Imports from the United States: Of the nearly US$3.9 billion of U.S. agricultural products exported
to Taiwan in 2011, approximately US$2.3 billion was comprised of bulk commodities. About 46
percent of Taiwan’s total bulk commodity imports came from the United States, including US$888
million of corn and US$731 million of soybeans. The United States also exported US$1.16 billion in
consumer-oriented agricultural products, primarily red meats and poultry meat, fresh fruits, fresh
vegetables, tree nuts, and processed fruits and vegetables.
Taiwan became a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO) on January 1, 2002 as a
customs territory with the name “Chinese Taipei.” The lowering of tariffs and non- tariff trade
barriers for imports has provided improved market access for a wide range of U.S. agricultural
products including fresh produce, dairy products, meat, seafood, and processed food products.
Given Taiwan’s relatively small agricultural sector, Taiwan’s dependence on imports is expected to
continue to grow. Taiwan’s continued modernization and increased adoption of American and
Western food tastes make the country an extremely attractive market for U.S. exporters. In
addition, WTO accession has also improved access to the Taiwan market for many competitors of
Due to a long period under Japanese rule and a strong trading relationship since WWII, the
Taiwanese have adopted many Japanese habits and follow their lead on consumer trends. Older
Taiwanese learned Japanese customs during occupation, but unlike the rest of Asia, harbor no ill
will for the experience. The younger generation studied Japanese in school and looks to Tokyo for
fashion and entertainment clues. Similarity in urban density and compact residential spaces have
allowed for overlapping desire for small, well packaged products found in convenience stores.
When 7-11 wanted to a new package for their private label, they established the design center in
Tokyo. 7-11 estimates that over 95% of their imported product is from Japan due these reasons,
and believes that U.S. companies would do better to focus on well packaged, single serving items
for the market. On the other hand, Korean designed products, despite their appeal to many Asian
consumers, do not test well in the Taiwan market.
Taiwan food processors continue to battle fluctuating global commodity prices, but Taiwan
authorities occasionally provide relief in the form of tariff reductions for key imported inputs such
as wheat, barley, corn, and soybeans.
Taiwan’s food processing industry is seeking opportunities overseas to offset a more competitive
domestic market. Top Taiwan firms such as Uni-President and Great Wall have enjoyed great
success in developing infrastructure and large scale agriculture and food processing facilities in
Food Retail Sector
Taiwan has a very competitive retail sector, with global players active in most phases of the
industry. Most Taiwanese consumers live within an easy walk of a retail store and shop regularly
to compensate for the lack of space to store food items. Most notable is the large number of
convenience stores, as Taiwan has the greatest density in the world, at one per 2500 consumer.
These stores offer a much wider variety of goods and services than commonly found in the U.S. At
a convenience store, a consumer can pay his child’s college tuition, pay any utility bill, purchase
train tickets, arrange an overnight delivery, or even hire a driver to make sure than an inebriated
consumer will get themselves and their car back to their residence. The sector currently has in
excess of 9000 stores and is dominated by 7-11 with a greater than 50% market share, with
Family Mart, Hi-Life and OKS each having half the share of the next largest company. The market
is mature and currently focused on improving customer experience rather than adding new stores.
Taiwan’s hypermarket is led by Costco, RT Mart and Carrefour. Costco sells mostly U.S. products
and has some of the busiest stores in the global chain. The supermarket sector is notable for the
luxury divisions CitySuper and Jasons, as well as in the Sogo and Mitsukoshi Department Stores
that have premium supermarkets targeting high income consumers. PX Mart, focused on price
conscious retailers has also grown quickly, from 68 stores in 1998 to just under 600 this year. The
traditional wet markets continue to serve large number of customers, and sell the majority of fresh
fruit in Taiwan. Sales over the next few years are expected to grow 25% for hypermarkets and 5%
for supermarkets. All of the major segments have added private label brands in recent years, to
both differentiate themselves from competitors, and to improve margins on select items.
HRI Food Service Sector
The Taiwan food service sector has rebounded back from the recession and focused on availability,
innovation, prices, and promotions in meeting consumer demands. Food services have added
breakfast menus, delivery services, and a wider variety of foods. Innovative promotions such as
country theme promotions, Taiwan/Western holiday promotions, and seasonal promotions are
popular year-round. These promotions offer market opportunities for high quality U.S. food and
Taiwanese consumers are gradually dining out more due to increases in double-income families,
who generally do not have time on weekdays to buy fresh produce and cook meals. With access to
many different places to dine out, the range of food options is abundant. There are many more
independent stores than chains, varying from street stalls and night markets to convenience stores
to tea shops, all of which are generally very affordable. In the future, the cafe sector is expected to
grow a great deal, as many have added meals instead of only carrying breakfast. Now, when
consumers stop by for morning coffee, they can grab a quick breakfast as well.
Due to the increasing percentage of the workforce located in cities, another large area of growth is
in sales of “biandang,” or prepared lunchboxes, sold at small shops and convenience stores around
Taiwan. Most of these lunchboxes consist of a large portion of rice or noodles, topped with a meat
dish and two to three vegetables dishes on the side. A large percentage of office workers tend to
purchase these cheap, quick, and filling lunchboxes usually around 2-3 USD, rather than pay full
price for a restaurant meal.
Organic Foods Sector
Currently, a dominant trend in Taiwan is the demand for healthier products and healthier lifestyles.
Organic foods are becoming popular in Taiwan as consumers crave more natural and
environmentally friendly products. The organic sector of the Taiwan food market is rapidly growing
as consumers become increasingly aware of available products. However, most organic products
are imported because there is limited domestic production. Higher prices for organic foods limit
demand during periods of uncertainty.
The Agricultural and Food Agency (AFA) of the Council of Agriculture (COA) announced on March
18, 2009 that the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Organic Program (NOP) has
officially been recognized by the COA as equivalent to Taiwan’s new organic standards through a
special export arrangement. However, in order to claim “organic” legally on the labeling for
imported organic agricultural products, importers are required to notify the COA of each shipment
and coordinate documentation with their U.S. suppliers and certification agencies on each batch of
For more information, please review the GAIN report #9024: 2009 Taiwan/Updated Import and
Labeling Requirements for “Organic” Products.
IV. Best High-Value Product Prospects
Product 20102011 Import Tariff Constraints over Market Market Attractiveness for
Imports Rate Development U.S.
Wine $92 $124 10% - 35%, France dominates red market. Growth from low base.
depending on General knowledge about wines Consumer sophistication is
value and still low. improving. Perceived health
alcohol benefits a driver.
Cheese $92 $110 5% New Zealand (29%) and Taiwan does not produce
Australia (21%) cheeses cheese in commercial
dominate market. quantities. Consumer
knowledge increasing, but
nascent market with large
Pork $84 $104 12.5% or Domestic producers are efficient Opportunities exist for U.S.
15% and price competitive. Import pork exports that meet local
barrier due to feed additive food processors’ needs.
Fresh $385 $399 Varies by type There is increased competition U.S. is largest supplier.
Fruit from new suppliers & varieties, Effective marketing programs
both domestic and foreign, emphasizing reliable quality,
especially premium fruit from competitive pricing, and
Japan and Korea. recognized brands have
improved market for U.S. fruit.
Poultry $129 $143 20% Import quotas on chicken meat U.S. enjoys 89% market share
were eliminated in 2005, but and is one of only six countries
special safe guard (SSG) raises certified to export poultry meat
tariff to about 26%. to Taiwan.
Tree Nuts $80 $92 Varies by type Cashews from Asia have shifted U.S. dominates market for
some market share from U.S. almonds, pecans, and walnuts.
tree nuts. Competition to U.S. Almonds and pecans have
pistachios coming from Middle great potential growth, but
East and Australia baking industry needs to learn
how to use pecans in products.
Beef $466 $546 10 NTD per Partial resolution of market U.S. beef typically seen as
kilo access issues has allowed higher quality, but import
imports of U.S. beef to recover restrictions have allowed
sharply. Primary competitors Australia and New Zealand
are New Zealand / Australia producers to create strong
with perceived acceptable inroads into the market.
quality and lower price.
Fish & $668 $730 9% to 38% With bias toward fresh fish and HRI outlets with Western
Seafood Asian crustaceans, U.S. orientation and up-market
Products suppliers must work hard to positioning offer best
gain market shares in Taiwan. opportunities for U.S.
exporters. Lobster and other
high value shellfish have
Source: Global Trade Atlas
V. Key Contacts and Further Information
American Institute in Taiwan
Agricultural Affairs Office
7 Lane 134, Hsin-Yi Road, Section 3, Taipei, Taiwan
Tel: (886) 2-2162-2316 Fax: (886) 2-2162-2238
Agricultural Trade Office
Room 704, 7F, 136 Ren-Ai Road, Section 3, Taipei, Taiwan
Tel: (886) 2-2705-6536 Fax: (886) 2-2706-4885
Taiwan Central Authority Agencies
Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
Department of Health (DOH), Executive Yuan
161-2 Kun-Yang Road, Taipei, Taiwan
Tel: (886) 2-2653-1318
Council of Agriculture (COA), Executive Yuan
37 Nan-Hai Road, Taipei, Taiwan
Tel: (886) 2-2381-2991 Fax: (886) 2-2331-0341
Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine (BAPHIQ)
9F, 51 Chung-Ching South Road, Section 2, Taipei, Taiwan
Tel: (886) 2-2343-1401 Fax: (886) 2-2343-1400
Bureau of Standards, Metrology and Inspection (BSMI) /
Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA)
4 Ji-Nan Road, Section 1, Taipei, Taiwan
Tel: (886) 2-2343-1700 Fax: (886) 2-2356-0998
Bureau of Foreign Trade (BOFT) / MOEA
1 Hu-Kou Street, Taipei, Taiwan
Tel: (886) 2-2351-0271 Fax: (886) 2-2351-3603
Directorate General of Customs (DCG) / Ministry of Finance (MOF)
13 Ta-Cheng Street, Taipei, Taiwan
Tel: (886) 2-2550-5500 Fax: (886) 2-2550-8111
E-mail : MGR@webmail.customs.gov.tw
Website : http://eweb.customs.gov.tw
Food Industry Research and Development Institute (FIRDI)
331 Shih-Pin Road, Hsinchu, Taiwan
Tel: (886) 3-522-3191 Fax: (886) 3-521-4016
Major Taiwan Trade Associations
Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA)
5-7F, 333 Kee-Lung Road, Section 1, Taipei, Taiwan
Tel: (886) 2-2725-5200 Fax: (886) 2-2757-6245
Taiwan Chain Stores and Franchise Association (TCFA)
4F, 180 Nan-King East Road, Section 4, Taipei, Taiwan
Tel: (886) 2-2579-6262 Fax: (886) 2-2579-1176
Importers and Exporters Association of Taipei (IEAT)
350 Sung-Chiang Road, Taipei, Taiwan
Tel: (886) 2-2581-3521 Fax: (886) 2-2523-8782
Importers and Exporters Association of Kaohsiung (IEAK)
4F, 472 Chung Shan Second Road, Kaohsiung, Taiwan
Tel: (886) 7-241-1191 Fax: (886) 7-201-6193
Tainan Importers and Exporters Chamber of Commerce
5F, 50 Cheng Kong Road, Tainan, Taiwan
Tel: (886) 6-226-7121 Fax: (886) 6-226-7124
Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS)
United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)
1400 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, D.C. 20250
Appendix – Statistics, 2011
Agricultural Imports from All Countries ($Mil) /
U.S 990 . Market Share ($M 14,825 / 3,il)
Consumer Food Imports from All Countries ($Mil) /
U.S 4,423 / 1,855 . Market Share ($Mil)
Edible Fishery Imports from All Countries ($Mil) /
U.S. Market Share ($M 1,114 / 49 il)
Total Population (Millions) / Annual Growth Rate (%) 23.162 / 0.18
Urban Population (Millions) / Annual Growth Rate (%) 5.2 / 0.4
Number of Major Metropolitan Areas 1/ 3
Per Capita Gross Domestic Product (U.S. Dollars) 19,175
Unemployment Rate (%) 5.21
Per Capita Food Expenditures (U.S. Dollars) 1,830
Percent of Female Population Employed 49.9
Exchange Rate 29.5
1/ Population in excess of 1,000,000
2/ Footnote how the middle class is “defined.”
Taiwan Demographic Information, 2011
Total Population (thousands) 23,162
Population Increase Rate (%) 0.18
Population Density (persons/km2) 640
Birth Rate (%) 7.21
Death Rate (%) 6.3
Labor Force (thousands) 10,493
Unemployment Rate (%) 5.21
Taiwan: Key Trade Information, 2010 / 2011
GDP (million USD) 430,100 / 467,263
GDP per capita (USD) 19,175 / 20,154
Economic Growth Rate (%) 10.72 / 4.03
Exports (million USD) 274,600 / 308,300
Imports (million USD) 254,240 / 281,600
Agricultural Imports (million USD) 3,538 / 3,870
Foreign Exchange Rate (USD = NTD) 1 USD = 32.03 / 29.47 NTD
Taiwan: Imports of Consumer Food and Edible Fishery Products, 2009-2011
World Imports U.S. Imports U.S. Market Share
(US$million) (US$million) (%)
2009 2010 2011 2009 2010 2011 2009 2010 2011
AGRICULTURAL TOTAL 3,032 3670 4170 915 1121 1157 30.1 30.6 27.8
Dairy (excl. Cheese) 202 297 395 7 12 16 3.7 4.0 4.1
Cheese 68 92 110 10 14 23 14.2 15.4 21.1
Eggs 11 13 15 4 4 3 36.8 29.0 19.4
Fresh Fruit 360 385 399 154 157 166 43.0 40.7 41.6
Processed Fruit 214 250 283 81 104 115 38.1 41.4 40.6
Fresh Vegetables 80 78 69 30 34 31 37.9 43.0 45.0
Fruit & Vegetable Juices 37 45 53 9 11 9 26.1 24.6 16.7
Breakfast Cereals (incl.
Pan 9 9 10 59.1 60.3 59.3 cake 14 15 17 Mix)
Red Meats (Fresh / Chilled
/ F 4 670 788 194 264 240 37.0 39.4 30.4 rozen 52)
Red Meats (Prepared /
Pre 3 4 72.5 63.9 63.3 served) 4 5 6 3
Snacks (excl. Nuts) 133 164 189 21 23 27 16.1 14.3 14.6
Tree Nuts 50 80 92 22 35 43 44.7 43.1 47.3
Wine & Beer 175 219 276 17 18 21 9.7 8.4 7.5
Pet Food 78 88 100 31 33 37 40.1 37.7 37.3
Other Products 1,082 1,269 1,378 323 400 412 29.9 31.5 29.9
FISH & SEAFOOD PRODUCT
TOTAL 571 668 730 15 19 32 2.7 2.8 4.4
Crustaceans 200 232 233 3 5 9 1.5 2.0 3.9
Groundfish & Flatfish 70 75 84 0.1 0.4 0.2 0.1 0.6 0.3
Molluscs 86 105 133 2 2 3 2.3 2.4 2.4
Salmon 52 72 88 0.9 1 2 1.7 1.4 1.9
Other Products 163 184 192 9 11 18 5.5 5.8 9.5
AGR PRODUCTS TOTAL 7,657 9,662 1,352 3,151 3,538 3,870 41.2 36.6 34.1
AGR, FISH & FORESTRY
TOTAL 9,102 11,630 13,475 3,215 3,626 3,977 35.3 31.2 29.5
Source: Global Trade Atlas
Top 15 Suppliers of Consumer Foods to Taiwan, 2009-2011 (US$)
# Origin 2009 2010 2011
-- WORLD TOTAL 3,032,080 3,670,316 4,169,610
1 United States 915,328 1,121,187 1,156,904
2 New Zealand 339,736 448,171 547,989
3 Australia 259,427 312,072 407,582
4 Japan 224,719 249,133 250,104
5 Netherlands 142,682 174,944 202,279
6 France 117,105 142,394 194,495
7 Thailand 131,904 165,090 183,745
8 China 149,891 162,539 181,730
9 Canada 124,352 121,808 129,043
10 Korea, South 80,753 86,124 103,126
11 Chile 67,823 91,106 97,727
12 Malaysia 40,792 51,866 68,734
13 Italy 42,789 54,208 66,050
14 Singapore 35,872 53,274 60,798
15 Vietnam 47,052 52,575 58,844