U.S. meat shippers step up marketing in Taiwan
A group of American meat shippers have initiated a marketing campaign for their products in Taiwan after that country recently reopened its borders to U.S. beef.
“The industry reaction in Taiwan to the return of U.S. beef has been phenomenal,” said Philip M. Seng, president and chief executive officer of the U.S. Meat Export Federation, in a May 5 statement. “There is a surge of interest when it comes to securing initial shipments of U.S. product.”
Taiwan, like most Asian countries, stopped importing American beef products after a report 16 months ago confirming a case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or “mad cow” disease, in an American cow.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture secured the return of the beef trade with Taiwan on April 16.
“We are seeing a tremendous interest in the boneless short rib, rib-eye roll, short loin and top blade,” Seng said.
Costco, which has four large stores in Taiwan, indicates it will buy U.S. product at pre-ban levels as soon as supply allows. Costco has rationed U.S. product since the opening of the market because of the strong demand in Taiwan.
In 2003, the United States exported $76.5 million in beef and beef variety meat to Taiwan. Boneless beef now eligible for export, accounted for $56.8 million or 74 percent of total U.S. beef exports to Taiwan. U.S. beef exports to Taiwan totaled 19,184 metric tons in 2003 with boneless beef accounting for 66 percent of the total.
According to the U.S. Meat Export Federation, American beef shipments to Taiwan should reach 8,000 metric tons by year-end.
“We are not as bullish with our forecasts because the bone-in product is not eligible for export to Taiwan at this time,” Seng said. “We also recognize among Asian markets, Taiwan is not at the top of per-capita consumption, but it does allow for room to grow.”