By Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat
Taiwan’s largest aquaculture companies are investing in the Philippines as their production hub for seafood exports to Taiwan and ASEAN countries.
Patty Yen, deputy executive director for strategic marketing department of Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA), said this at the first Taiwan Aquaculture Trade Mission to the Philippines held at the Manila Hotel where 10 of the biggest aquaculture firms in Taiwan participated in the networking and business matching event with potential local partners.
At least 70 Filipino aquaculture companies participated in the networking and business matching session.
“Some of the mission members are looking at crab, shrimp and fish for the exports market,” Yen said noting that most of these companies are currently exporting around the world.
According to Yen, the holding of this mission was a result of the Memorandum of Understanding signed by the Philippines and Taiwan early this year to cooperate in the promotion of aquaculture in the country.
In addition, there is a synergy between the two economies with the Philippines being an agricultural country and Taiwan has advanced technologies to help the Philippine aquaculture industry.
Aquaculture in Taiwan has a history of over 300 years. Known as the kingdom of grouper fish farmers, Taiwan has gained worldwide reputation for major advances in mass production and virus control.
In 2016, Taiwan exported a total of 700,000 metric tons worth $1.6 billion of high-quality seafood, such as tuna, bonito, grouper, squid, and saury, mainly to China, Thailand, and the US; making Taiwan the world’s 6th largest biggest frozen fish exporting country.
In the same year, Taiwan imported 450,000 metric tons worth $1.145 billion of seafood, such as salmon, shrimp, lobster, and abalone, mainly from China, Norway, Japan and Vietnam.
Yen noted that because of the ASEAN economic integration, Taiwanese firms are keen in expanding in the country to be able to tp into the huge ASEAN market. TAITRA is planning to send a follow-up aquaculture mission this year.
The Philippines is the world’s 12th largest exporter of aquaculture products while Taiwan is 19th biggest.
In 2016, bilateral trade between Manila and Taipei reached $11 billion but the trade balance is heavily in favor of the latter with exports to the Philippines of $8.6 billion as against Philippines exports to Taipei of only $2.2 billion.
Manila’s biggest exports to Taipei are ICs, generators and machineries and accessories while the Taipei’s exports to Manila include fiber, iron and steel and auto parts.
Yen said there are other potential sectors for investments in the Philippines, but aquaculture has the most potential.