The United States is the top supplier of food and agricultural products to Taiwan, making the island among the top 10 markets for U.S. food and agricultural products.

“The buyers we talked to universally appreciate the high quality of American goods,” said Brian Kubicki of the Kauai Coffee Co., based in Hawaii, who recently returned from the first U.S. Department of Agriculture trade mission to Taipei.

“The ‘Made in USA’ statement assures the buyer of a high-quality product,” echoed Rick Peterson of Northwest Hazelnut Company in Oregon, who likewise joined nearly 50 U.S. agribusiness and farm organizations who attended the April 22–25 mission.

Top U.S. agriculture products exported to Taiwan are soybeans, corn, beef, wheat and fresh fruit, with total sales in 2018 at nearly $4 billion.

In return, the U.S. imports around $400 million of agricultural products from Taiwan each year, mostly garden plants, snack foods, processed fruits and vegetables, and teas.

“Even though it is a mature, steady market, we experienced a growth rate of 19 percent last year,” said Ken Isley, the U.S. Department of Agriculture official who led the trade mission.

Isley estimated the face-to-face meetings during the four-day trip could generate over $15 million in new sales. “It’s a very, very stable and solid market for us,” he said.

Products with a ‘good story’

Lisa Cloutier, a representative from Whistling Andy Distillery in Montana, said the Taiwan buyers she spoke to were intrigued by “farm-to-still” alcohol products made with Montana-grown grain. Local barley, wheat and rye is used in the distilling process to flavor the company’s handcrafted whiskey and bourbon.

She said Taiwan buyers are looking for products “with a good story to fit their consumers’ palates.”

USDA trade missions have included those to Brazil, India, Indonesia and South Korea.