WASHINGTON (NCBA) — The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) is extremely disappointed that Taiwan has reversed its decision on a carefully negotiated science-based bilateral beef trade protocol. Despite a recent agreement to allow a full reopening of the Taiwan market to U.S. beef, lawmakers in Taiwan announced yesterday that additional restrictions would be placed on U.S. beef imports, due to alleged safety concerns.
“In our view, the issues expressed by politicians in Taiwan have absolutely no basis in scientific fact and fly in the face of Taiwan’s own risk assessment,” said Gregg Doud, NCBA chief economist. “To suggest that there are any safety concerns related to U.S. beef is outrageous.“
After two years of negotiations, the U.S. and Taiwan reached an agreement, finalized in October, which would have brought Taiwan into compliance with science-based World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) guidelines, thus allowing imports of U.S. beef and beef products from cattle of all ages. Taiwan appears to have disregarded sound science and ignored the agreement by placing additional restrictions on beef and beef product sales to Taiwan.
“This is a purely domestic political issue in Taiwan,” said Doud. “U.S. beef producers are sick and tired of being used as a political football.”
The U.S. has exported record sales to Taiwan over the last three years, with beef exports valued at: $101 million in 2006; $107 million in 2007; and $128 million in 2008. We’re on pace to set a record for the fourth year in a row in 2009, with $114 million in beef sales through October.
“Taiwan’s decision to abrogate a portion of this agreement is extremely disappointing,” Doud continued. “It’s particularly concerning given the fact that we considered Taiwan to be a trusted trading partner as a member of the World Trade Organization.”
NCBA is urging the Obama Administration to explore every available option to rectify this situation as soon as possible.