U.S. cattle producers applaud Taiwan-U.S. agreement

by Bryan Salvage
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DENVER — A new trade protocol announced last week between the U.S. and Taiwan to expand exports of U.S. beef was lauded by producers. Under the initial phase of the new trade protocol, U.S. exports will remain limited to beef from cattle under 30 months of age, but bone-in beef cuts and variety meat — such as tripe, tongue, liver and kidney — will be allowed.

Beef exports to Taiwan were previously restricted to boneless muscle cuts from cattle less than 30 months of age, which has limited Taiwan’s growth potential, according to the U.S. Meat Export Federation (U.S.M.E.F.).

The new trade protocol is a very positive step forward for U.S. cattle producers, said Keith Miller, USMEF vice-chairman and a farmer-stockman from Great Bend, Kan. Mr. Miller said the ability to export variety meat is especially important for adding carcass value. He added he is hoping to see expanded beef access soon in other Asian markets — including Japan, where U.S. exports are currently limited to beef from cattle 20 months of age and younger.

"The news [about Taiwan] was great because it will allow us to ship more product into a country that’s definitely needing a lot of product," Mr. Miller said. "They were the very first country to start taking our product after the first case of B.S.E. and we really appreciate our relationship with them. It’s going to be a place we can ship a lot of product to, and hopefully we can get some of the other countries around them to take notice and start working with us."

Exporting variety meats is especially important when it comes to carcass value, Mr. Miller pointed out. "There’s a lot of room for that in Asia," he said." The biggest advantage of that to the American beef producer is variety meats don’t have a lot of market value here in the U.S. Whenever we can ship them out to countries like the Asian countries, that brings up the total price of the carcass hanging on the rail. That’s what we’re really after is to make the carcass more valuable for our producers."

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