Haggard: Expanded Beef Market Leads To Controversy

It’s not often when the expansion of one commodity in a market leads to more stringent regulations of another, but that’s the situation taking place in Southeast Asia. In January, Taiwan eased restrictions on imports of U.S. Red Meat, but not without some controversy. Joel Haggard Senior Vice President at the U.S. Meat Export Federation noted on January 1st, the 6th largest market for U.S. beef opened up the market to cattle of all ages.

“Now, the opening of U.S. beef to all ages was part of a package announced last summer by Taiwan’s President which more prominently featured a commitment by the island to establish residue tolerance for Octopamine in imports of U.S. pork.  And as part of this opening process, Taiwan announced the establishment of Country of Origin Labeling for pork including that in processed meats, which is where most imported pork is utilized.  So the issue has created a media firestorm in Taiwan and a public commitment by the opposition party KMT to oppose the measure.”

Haggard added regions controlled by the KMT have pledged to implement their own zero tolerance standards. And the party is collecting signatures to mount a referendum this August to overturn the rule.

“And although many Taiwan consumers realize there are political elements in this campaign, the sheer volume of media coverage has raised consumers anxiety levels just enough to discourage processors from sourcing U.S. product, at least for now.”

Haggard added he anticipates this situation cooling down in the months to come.

The U.S. exports roughly $500 million beef to Taiwan annually.

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