Japan takes center stage at Taipei food show

Japanese food products took center stage at the opening of Taiwan's annual food show Wednesday, attracting large crowds of Taiwanese gastronomes to its pavilions that included a Kyushu booth, which joined the event for the first time.

The Kyushu pavilion, set up at the four-day Taipei International Food Show, showcases around 50 products from 16 companies in the southwestern Japan region, according to the Bank of Fukuoka, which organized the booth. All the firms are clients of the regional bank.

The food items displayed include rice, chocolate, beverages, jam, beef, marine products, condiments and honey.

Junji Umemoto, sales director of Tobo Rice, one of the businesses showcasing its products at the Kyushu pavilion, said his company is interested in expanding overseas, and he believes it is relatively easy to break into the Taiwanese market as rice is a staple food in both Japan and Taiwan.

"Taiwan has generated many topics of discussion" in Kyushu, said Ippei Oyama, the bank's chief representative in Taiwan, referring to investment in Kumamoto Prefecture by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., the world's largest contract chipmaker. He added it is a good time to bring the bank's clients to Taiwan.

Many Taiwanese people flocked to another pavilion organized by the Japan External Trade Organization and the Japan-Taiwan Exchange Association, as they were eager to taste the meat products offered there.

On the sidelines of the trade show, a ceremony was held to kick start a platform to help Japanese businesses export their agricultural and maritime products to Taiwan.

Takashi Hattori, deputy representative at the Taipei office of the association, said the island is "an attractive market where further export expansion can be expected," given Taiwan's economic development and the high level of trust in Japanese food products.

The association serves as Japan's de facto embassy in Taipei. Taiwan was the fourth largest Japanese food importer in 2022, with goods worth 148.9 billion yen ($1.06 billion) shipped to the island.

Earlier at the food show's opening ceremony, Chen Chern-chyi, Taiwan's vice economic affairs minister, said the event fully presents the upstream, midstream and downstream supply chains of the Asian food industry.

The food show, to be held through Saturday in Taipei, features 1,498 exhibitors from 31 countries, according to the organizer, Taiwan External Trade Development Council.

© Kyodo News