U.S. Sen. Mike Johanns (R-Neb.) today issued the following statement after speaking with Taiwanese Ambassador Yuan about his country's actions to open their markets to American beef:
"Nebraska's cattle industry produces some of the highest quality beef in the world," Johanns said. "Taiwan's legislature should be commended for taking a first step to reopening their markets to U.S. beef. I encourage them to keep this process moving without any unnecessary delays.
"I look forward to seeing the first shipment of Nebraska beef arriving on their shores very soon and hope this science-based approach will continue to be the norm."
In 2010, the U.S. exported nearly 39,000 metric tons of beef and beef variety meats to Taiwan valued at $216.3 million. Taiwan effectively closed their market to U.S. beef in January 2011 after implementing a zero-tolerance policy for ractopamine, a feed additive commonly used to increase the efficiency of livestock production.
Johanns met with the Taiwanese ambassador regarding this issue in March 2011 and wrote to express concern in April 2011. On Wednesday, the Taiwanese legislature amended their food sanitation law to authorize the executive branch to bring minimum standards for ractopamine in line with those of more than two dozen nations, including the U.S.
Johanns hopes this policy will be applied to all imported meats, not just beef imports.