TAIPEI (CNA) — Taiwan is in talks to pave the way for exports of its pork to Japan and some Southeast Asian countries, including Singapore, once it is declared as being free of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD), the Council of Agriculture (COA) said Tuesday.
Speaking at a press briefing to discuss a recent trip to Singapore to promote Taiwan’s agricultural products, COA chief Chen Chi-chung (陳吉仲) said the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) is scheduled to list Taiwan as free of FMD sometime after May 2020.
Once that happens, it intends to export its pork products overseas, and Singapore is one of the target destinations, Chen said.
As part of that effort, Taiwan’s Certified Agricultural Standards Association signed an MOU with one of the largest supermarket chains in Singapore, HAO Mart, to buy Taiwanese pork during a visit by Chen and a Taiwanese delegation to Singapore on Oct. 20, the COA chief said.
Chen did not provide any figures on how much such a partnership might be worth.
He said he also participated in the opening ceremony of HAO Mart’s Taiwan agricultural product section.
Talks on pork are also underway with Japan and other Southeast Asian countries, Chen said, but he did not provide any further details on whether progress is being made.
Taiwan’s government applied to OIE last month for recognition as a country free of FMD where vaccinations are not used.
The country is hoping to regain that designation in May 2020 for the first time in 22 years, according to the COA.
Taiwan’s pig farming industry had exports of NT$60 billion (US$1.94 billion) in 1996, but it was hit hard by an FMD outbreak in 1997 that triggered a ban on exports of the country’s fresh pork that year, the COA said.
Taiwan exported US$72.85 million in agricultural products to Singapore from January to September this year, up 8 percent from the same period a year earlier.
By Yang Su-min and Joseph Yeh