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Taiwan groupers headed to US after China ban

Promotional campaigns in full swing for Taiwanese fish rejected by Beijing

Grouper fish in Taiwan. 

Grouper fish in Taiwan.  (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Around five tons of Taiwanese grouper were sealed before being shipped to the U.S. at an event in Kaohsiung on Tuesday (July 26) promoting the fish overseas.

China has banned the fish since June 13, claiming that prohibited chemicals were found in shipments despite Taiwan’s protest. Since China had originally accounted for 90% of Taiwan's grouper exports, officials have been looking for other markets to reduce the impact on Taiwanese fish farmers.

A total of 123.5 tons of grouper was shipped out between June 13 and July 24, said Council of Agriculture Minister Chen Chi-chung (陳吉仲). The council eyes a target of 300 tons for the second half of the year, according to CNA.

This is part of the government’s drive to market agricultural products arbitrarily banned by Beijing, moves which Taiwan sees as politically motivated, including fruits such as pineapples, wax apples, and sugar apples. Incentives have been implemented to boost oversea sales, focusing on the U.S., New Zealand, Japan, Hong Kong, South Korea, the Middle East, and the European Union, Chen noted.

PX Mart, the largest local supermarket chain in Taiwan, has placed an order of 500 tons of grouper in support of the industry. Discounts are currently offered at the retailer for frozen fish fillets until Aug. 18 in a promotional campaign.

Taiwan has a grouper market of NT$4 billion (US$133.6 million) annually. An important commercially bred fish, it boasts a fine texture and its skin is rich in collagen, said the Fisheries Agency.