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New Trade Deal Benefits Taiwan's Grouper Farmers

by 5m Editor
28 June 2010, at 1:00am

TAIWAN - Grouper aquaculture is to benefit from a new economic cooperation framework agreement (ECFA) with China.

With Taiwan's cultured grouper to be given zero tariff treatment under a landmark cross-Taiwan Strait trade pact, many grouper farmers plan to expand their grouper ponds and even fishermen have expressed interest in entering the lucrative market, industry sources say, reports Focus Taiwan.

Earlier in the day, President Ma Ying-jeou predicted that Taiwan will become the largest source of grouper in the world as the fish has been included on Taiwan's 'early harvest' list of goods and services that will enjoy preferential tariff treatment under the new ECFA.

Two days previously, Mr Ma expressed the hope that the total annual production value of grouper – which are mainly raised in Kaohsiung and Pingtung counties in southern Taiwan – will increase to 7.6 billion New Dollars (TWD; US$237 million) Dai Kun-Tsai, a grouper farmer who successfully raises giant grouper in Pingtung, said that increasing demand from China made him consider to double the acreage of his ponds.

He said: "The demand from China for the fish during the Shanghai World Expo has been the greatest I have ever seen in more than 20 years."

He added that as the government now allows boats to transport live grouper directly to 11 harbours in China's Fujian Province, the high quality of the fish and the zero tariff treatment are expected to increase the economic potential for the product.

He noted that two fisheries in China have recently set up offices in Taiwan with the aim of grabbing more grouper wholesale business.

According to Ho Shu-yuan, director of a fishermen's association in Kaohsiung County, some local fishermen have approached the association to seek advice on how to enter the grouper aquaculture business.

Mr Ho said the price of quality grouper has increased to TWD416 per kilo, up 56 per cent from last year, while the price of giant grouper has risen by 27 per cent to TWD$466 per kilo.

Huang Tsai-tuan, head of Pingtung County's Aquaculture Development Association, said local grouper aquaculturists hope the signing of the ECFA will help them recover from losses they sustained after the inundation triggered by Typhoon Morakot last August, reports Focus Taiwan.

5m Editor