Correction from source, Feb. 5 — Taiwan has formally agreed to accept imports of bone-in beef and additional beef products from Canadian cattle under 30 months of age (UTMs).
The agreement between Taiwan and Canada is set to take effect 30 days after its signing on Monday, the Canadian government announced Wednesday — thus pegging its implementation date at March 5.
Taiwan’s decision further loosens restrictions placed on Canadian beef imports dating back to Canada’s first confirmed home-grown case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in a domestic cow in 2003.
Taiwan partially lifted its import ban in 2007 to allow boneless frozen, fresh and chilled UTM beef from Canada. In 2012, those exports to Taiwan were worth $1.4 million, making Taiwan Canada’s 18th-largest export market for beef, the Canadian government said Wednesday.
Taiwanese officials have previously noted Canadian beef in 2012 held a 0.3 per cent market share in their country, compared to six per cent for Taiwan’s domestic beef producers and 46 per cent for Taiwan’s largest beef supplier, Australia.
By pre-BSE comparison, Taiwan in 2002 imported $19.8 million worth of Canadian beef and was then Canada’s fifth-largest beef export customer.
The Canadian government said Wednesday the agreement “will level the playing field for Canadian beef producers and generate export opportunities to the lucrative Taiwanese market.”
“Our industry is very well positioned to take advantage of this expanded access,” Chuck MacLean, chairman of export development agency Canada Beef, said in the government’s release Wednesday. “The federal government has been working tirelessly to provide market access and we are ready to turn this into value for Canadian beef and veal producers.”
Canada’s federal trade office in Taipei, in a separate statement Wednesday, said the announcement “demonstrates clearly Taiwan’s desire to further liberalize their economy and further integrate into the broader regional and global economy.”
The Taipei Times last month quoted Taiwanese economic ministry officials as saying opening Taiwan’s ports to Canadian bone-in beef could help the country move closer to signing a bilateral investment agreement with Canada.
That, in turn, could spur opportunity for Taiwan to get in on regional economic blocs such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), vice-minister Francis Liang told the news outlet. Canada is already at the TPP negotiating table [Related story].
— AGCanada.com Network
CORRECTION FROM SOURCE, Feb. 5, 2014: The original version of the federal government’s announcement stated the agreement on bone-in UTM beef was signed Jan. 3, 2014, which would have put its implementation date at Feb. 2.