After more than four years of negotiations with Australia, the first shipment of Taiwan Phalaenopsis orchids with growing media passed Australian customs clearance procedures on September 13, 2011 after breaking through quarantine and inspection barriers. The orchids were on display at Flora International in Leppington district, Sydney and a press conference was jointly presided over by International Department Director General Su-San Chang of the Council of Agriculture (COA), Economic Division Executive Director Guann-Jyh Lee of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Australia, and Flora International General Manager Denis Secco. Mr. Ross Maddock, Chairman of the Australia-Taiwan Business Council, Director Frank Chen of Taiwan Trade Center Sydney, President Johnson Hsiung of the Taiwanese Chamber of Commerce in Australia, the Honorary President Alan Hu of the Taiwanese Chambers of Commerce in Oceania and other guests were invited to witness the strength of Taiwan’s quality agriculture and attend a celebration tea party after the press conference.
Phalaenopsis Orchids Becoming Popular on International Market with Exports Growing Three Times in Six Years
The COA explained that using sphagnum moss as the growing media, in combination with mature post-harvested handling techniques for long-distance shipping, Taiwan’s Phalaenopsis orchids can endure maritime container transport for more than 25 days and have strong resilience and vitality after arriving at destination’s greenhouse. And this method of exporting orchids has been highly praised by domestic businesses and their partners oversea. Since the first shipment of Phalaenopsis orchids with growing media was exported to the United States in January 2005, the total value of exported Taiwan Phalaenopsis orchids with medium had increased from US$27.05 million in 2005 to US$82.55 million in 2010, growing more three times in six years. In 2010 Taiwan exported more than 14 million plants of Phalaenopsis orchids to the U.S. market through long-distance shipping, and it was estimated to save domestic businesses and their oversea partners at least NT$600 million in transportation costs.
Phalaenopsis Orchids Export to Australia Successfully after Breaking through Strict Quarantine and Inspection Barriers
In the past Australia required that Phalaenopsis orchid seedlings being exported to Australia had to remove their medium and be applied with pesticides, and the orchids must undergo 3-month quarantine in isolation after reaching Australia, noted the Council. To assist local businesses in breaking through the strict quarantine and inspection barriers, the government, based on the work plan for importation of Phalaenopsis orchids with growing media from Taiwan to the United States, has negotiated with Australia since more than four years ago. Australia gave its consent finally on January 6, 2011 for Taiwan to become the first foreign country allowed to export Phalaenopsis orchids with growing media to Australia without 3-month quarantine in isolation. The first shipment of 2,200 mature seedlings of four commercial varieties of Phalaenopsis orchid developed in Taiwan was transported to Australia with growing media and passed customs clearance procedures smoothly on September 13. Phalaenopsis orchids with medium can not only increase the survival rate from 50% for exported orchids with bare roots to 95%, but also shorten the rehabilitation period from two months for bare-root orchids to three weeks, enabling them to enter the local market much sooner. Moreover, local businesses can replace air transport with shipping when exporting orchids, substantially saving both transportation and sales operation costs for Australian orchid growers. This development has created a win-win situation for Taiwan and Australian orchid business.
To Actively Protect Plant Variety Rights, Taiwan Negotiate with Various Nations to Ensure Intellectual Property of Orchid Breeders
Taiwan has rich experiences in breeding and developed 200-300 new orchid varieties each year. To endure Taiwan’s orchid variety R&D superiority and make good use of added value of intellectual property rights, Taiwan has actively negotiated with various nations for accepting applications for plant variety right filed by each other’s natural or legal persons under the WTO/TRIPs framework. Taiwan breeders are now entitled to apply for plant variety rights in the United States, Australia, Japan and European Union, and now Taiwan is actively negotiating with Canada and Israel for the same arrangement. As of the end of August 2011, European Union has granted 44 Phalaenopsis and Doritaenopsis orchid variety rights filed by Taiwan businesses, while another 18 application was under procedure of examination. , Japan has approved 14 applications and proclaimed nine, and the United States has approved 12 applications, according to Taiwan Orchid Growers Association statistics, protecting plant variety rights has been positive for orchid breeders and seedlings nurseries in Taiwan and oversea growers to form strategic partnerships in a sustainable manner, noted the COA.
Australia and New Zealand Agree to Import Orchids with Growing media Expands Business Opportunity for Export of Taiwan Orchids to southern hemisphere
In order to continue creating export successes, the Council has in recent years actively negotiated with countries of other targeted market through various channels for acceptance of exported Taiwan Phalaenopsis orchids with growing media, said the COA. Australia gave its consent in January this year and New Zealand consented in August, demonstrating that Taiwan Phalaenopsis orchids have been given recognition by the international market and that Phalaenopsis orchid exports are expected to reach a new record-high.
To continue keeping Taiwan flower industry ahead of global trends, in the future the Taiwan government will enhance local flower industry’s competitiveness from such aspects as “international brand marketing,” “healthy seedling and high-tech production” and “innovation and intellectual property right protection,” and work closely with the industry to develop different types of profitable business modes while expanding business opportunities globally, particularly in the southern hemisphere.