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Taiwan lifts restrictions on U.S. pork and beef

Taiwan lifts restrictions on U.S. pork and beef

The two countries still have a long way to go before a formal trade deal is in place, one Taiwanese official said

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer

American beef and pork producers will soon have more access to an Asian market.

Taiwan will allow imports of U.S. pork containing ractopamine, a feed additive that helps increase leanness and improve feed efficiency. Taiwan has banned pork products with ractopamine since 2006.

Prior to the ractopamine ban, Taiwan served as a significant market for U.S. pork.

The U.S. supplied about 75 percent of Taiwan’s pork imports, the United States International Trade Commission said in a 2002 report.

In addition, Taiwan will allow imports of U.S. beef older than 30 months.

This development opens more opportunities for U.S. beef producers. The U.S. exported $550 million of beef to Taiwan in 2018. America also holds about 55 percent of the Taiwanese beef market share, USDA data shows.

Taiwan originally placed the ban on U.S. beef in 2003 when BSE affected the American beef industry. Taiwan lifted the ban in April 2005 and reapplied it in June 2005 when officials found another case of BSE in the United States.

In January 2006, Taiwan amended its ban to only allow imports of deboned beef from cattle under 30 months of age.

These rules for pork and beef imports are expected to come into effect in January 2021.

Taking this step could serve as the start to a formal trade agreement between the two nations, Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen said.

“We know that there is still some way to go between now and signing a trade agreement,” Tsai said Friday, Bloomberg reported. “But, prior to trade discussions, we must rationalize trade regulations to the same international standards and open up to other countries for mutual benefit.”

U.S. pork industry representatives and government officials are pleased to see this trade progress with Taiwan.

The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) “has worked for approximately 15 years to eliminate Taiwan’s non-tariff barriers to U.S. pork exports,” the organization told in an emailed statement. “NPPC appreciates that Taiwan indicates it will soon lift all non-tariff barriers to U.S. pork.”

The head of the USDA voiced his optimism with the news.

“Encouraging news out of Taiwan: Big step toward expanded (market) access for U.S. beef and pork consistent (with) science-based (international) standards and longstanding commitments,” Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said on Twitter.

The state department is pleased with the announcement as well.

“We look forward to the timely implementation of these actions, which will provide greater access for U.S. farmers to one of East Asia’s most vibrant markets, and for Taiwan consumers to high-quality U.S. agricultural products,” Morgan Ortagus, a spokesperson for the U.S. Department of State, said in an Aug. 28 statement.

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