Taiwan to ease U.S. beef restrictions: Kansas governor

by Bryan Salvage
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TOPEKA, KAN. — Mark Parkinson, Kansas governor, said on Oct. 28 he has been assured Taiwan will soon ease restrictions on imports of U.S. beef. Last week he met in Taiwan with President Ma Ying-jeou during a trade mission to Taiwan.

Mr. Ma indicated Taiwan would soon begin accepting shipments of U.S. beef, although no timetable was given, Mr. Parkinson said.

Speaking to reporters about his recent trade mission, the governor said there had been considerable effort at all levels of government to reopen beef markets in Taiwan, as well as other nations in Southeast Asia.

"President Ma indicated that the input we provided was helpful, that he's headed toward a policy that will lift the ban," the governor said. "That would be a terrific benefit to the livestock industry, not just in Kansas, but across the United States."

Taiwan purchased $128 million in beef products from the United States in 2008, said Scarlett Hagins, spokeswoman for the Kansas Livestock Association. According to state agriculture statistics, Kansas ranked third in the country in 2007 in live animals and meat exports with $596.2 million in sales, Ms. Hagins said.

Taiwan restricts imports to boneless beef products from cattle 30 months old and younger over concerns about bovine spongiform encephalopathy. The country recently agreed to buy $425 million worth of wheat from the U.S., most of which will come from Kansas.

Taiwan was the 16th largest market for Kansas's products in 2008. Taiwan ranks as the seventh-largest export market for U.S. agricultural products and the second-largest consumer of U.S. agricultural products per capita.

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