Taiwan has confirmed April 16, 2005 as the final date for the re-opening of its borders to U.S. beef exports. The country leads the Asian market with this reopening and is a major export market for U.S. beef and beef products.
Total beef exports to Taiwan in 2003 amounted to 19,200 metric tons (mt), valued at $76 million. The 15 month ban on U.S. beef came after the December 23, 2003 U.S. discovery of a single case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in a Canadian-born cow.
Members of the National Cattlemenâ€™s Beef Association (NCBA) are pleased with Taiwan's decision. Texas cattle producer and NCBA President Jim McAdams says, "Our members have been fighting for this, and we hope other Asian markets like Japan and South Korea will follow Taiwanâ€™s lead as soon as possible."
"U.S. beef is safe from BSE and we have the right measures in place to keep it that way," says McAdams. "The extensive USDA surveillance program has confirmed that nearly 300,000 BSE negatives in our 'high-risk' cattle population, and counting. There is absolutely no valid reasoning for the continued closure of any of our export markets to U.S. beef. They must be re-opened."
For months on end, NCBA has been pushing for the re-opening of our export markets. NCBA Chief Economist Gregg Doud says Taiwan's news is welcomed. "This, along with recent moves to re-establish trade with Egypt, means that efforts from cattle producers, the Bush Administration, and members of Congress are being taken seriously. It proves these nations are committed to harmonizing trade based on science, not political pressure. We appreciate the actions they are taking and we won't rest until beef trade is completely normalized," he says.
NCBA says it will continue to work with members of Congress, the Bush Administration and foreign officials to expedite the reopening of all borders closed to U.S. beef since late 2003 in order to re-establish science-based BSE trade policies across the globe.