March 28, 2005 Taiwan has tentatively agreed to re-open its borders to U.S. beef beginning April 16, a Reuters report stated. The country, which purchased more than $76 million of U.S. beef exports prior to a 15-month ban placed on the products, will begin allowing boneless meat from cattle less than 30 months of age.
According to the article, an 18-member panel convened by the Taiwanese Department of Health evaluated U.S. testing and safety procedures for months before reaching the decision. Our committee has made a conclusion that there is no food safety concern; this is the most important reason. So, we decided to reopen the market
of course on some conditions, director of the Bureau of Food Safety Chen Lu-hung stated in the Reuters article. Under the conditional agreement all U.S. beef entering the country must be verified as safe by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and the exports must not include bones, offal or specified risk material (SRM).
News of renewed trade with Taiwan follows a statement by U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns last week announcing renewed trade with Egypt, which purchased $30 million of U.S. beef and beef products in 2003. Johanns said Egypt will immediately begin resuming imports of U.S. beef and beef products from animals less than 30 months of age. The agreement also includes age and origin requirements through a USDA Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) Beef Export Verification (BEV) program.
Industry representatives are looking toward other crucial export markets to follow the lead of both Taiwan and Egypt; however, according to some reports, South Korea previously the third-largest importer of U.S. beef has given no indication it would be affected by Taiwans actions.
by Crystal Albers, Angus Productions Inc. assistant editor