NZ beef exports to Taiwan rise to a record, propelling it to third largest market

In 2015, New Zealand's beef exports to Taiwan jumped 36% to $188.6 million.

Beef exports to Taiwan rose to a record in 2015, propelling it to the country's third-largest beef market behind the US and China.

In 2015, New Zealand's beef exports to Taiwan jumped 36% to $188.6 million, while the volume increased 20% to 23,442 tonnes, according to Statistics NZ data compiled by the Meat Industry Association. That pushed it above Japan in value and ahead of Japan and Korea in volume to become the country's third-largest beef market.

Taiwan also takes higher-value meat, with an average value last year of $US5.68 per kilogram, compared with $US5.08/kg for the US, and $US4.94/kg for China, according to AgriHQ data.

New Zealand's trade with Taiwan has accelerated since the ANZTEC economic cooperation agreement came into force in December 2013. That has seen it jump to New Zealand's seventh-largest export market for merchandise trade, up from the 10th largest in 2013.

The agreement saw the tariff on New Zealand beef cut to zero, from a previous rate of about 46c  per kilogram per cubic metre. Trade Minister Todd McClay said the latest figures demonstrate the many benefits that trade agreements deliver for the New Zealand economy and shows why the government continues to promote a progressive free-trade agenda.

Local exporters may have been diverting product away from Japan and Korea (historically the second and third largest markets) where economic growth has been weak and where they also face competition from Australia and the US, analysts said.

"It's really changing the face of our markets at the moment," said Nick Handley, senior analyst at AgriHQ. "It used to be quite normal for 10 years or so that the US was miles in front and then South Korea and Japan pretty comfortably taking No 2 and No 3 – now China is on board, Taiwan is No 3 and Malaysia is steadily climbing onto the radar."

Last year, the US took about half New Zealand's 443,142 tonnes of beef exports, while China took about 17%. Taiwan and Canada each took about 5% of export volumes while Korea and Japan each took 4%.

Handley said he expects China to remain the second-largest market, with Taiwan, Canada and South Korea remaining close, and Japan continuing to hold the sixth position.