Taiwan to reopen market to Japanese beef after 16-year ban

TOKYO, July 19 — Taiwan will lift bans on imports of Japanese beef as early as September, with a condition of a 30-month age limit, officials said. It will be 16 years after this once major market shut its doors.

Taiwan banned import of Japanese beef in 2001 due to an outbreak of mad cow disease, or bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), in Japan. Since 2004, Tokyo has requested Taipei to lift the ban, and the two have discussed food safety conditions for imports.

Lifting the import ban is a critical first step for resuming Japanese beef exports to Taiwan, though the condition of cattle eligibility is imposed. In pre-BSE era, Japan’s exports to Taiwan reached 50,000 tons.

Japan’s total beef exports in 2016 were 2,000 tons, valued at 13.6 billion yen. The top three destinations were Hong Kong, the U.S. and Cambodia.

The Japanese government sets a target to boost the annual value of agricultural exports to 1 trillion yen by 2020.

As Japanese beef is seen as one of the key agricultural exports, the government considers to make market access progress on beef would generally expand export opportunities for Japanese agriculture producers.

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