Canadian meat industry hails renewed Taiwan access

By Mandy Kovacs

- Last updated on GMT

The Canadian government has hailed the 'excellent opportunity' for beef in Taiwan
The Canadian government has hailed the 'excellent opportunity' for beef in Taiwan

Related tags Canadian beef International trade Taiwan Beef

The Canadian meat industry is optimistic that healthy sales will follow after it resumed beef trade with Taiwan following the relaxation of a trade embargo.

Taiwan had imposed a temporary suspension of Canadian beef imports in February 2015, after a case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) was discovered in Alberta earlier that month.

In a communiqué, the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association (CCA) president Dan Darling said the resumption of trade in Taiwan, along with the announcement of full trade restoration with Mexico​ on 28 June, was “great news for beef producers​”.

When the border is open, Taiwan is usually one of our top 10 export markets for Canadian beef,​” he said. “All of these market expansions are important; every gain in market access supports competition for Canadian beef.​”

Exports to hit $7m

According to the Canadian government, Taiwan was Canada’s seventh-largest market in 2014, receiving CA$12 million (US$9.24m) worth of Canadian beef exports that year. John Masswohl, director of government and international relations at CCA, said once trade resumed Canadian beef exporters anticipated exports could reach around CA$10m (US$7.7m) a year in the first three years, and as much as CA$15m (US$11.55m) annually within five years.

Beef imports were cut off in 2014 because of what we recognise as an unjustified trade restriction by the Taiwanese government, but we are happy that Canadian beef is back on the market,​” Masswohl told GlobalMeatNews​. He explained that it might be tough to re-convince Taiwanese importers to start featuring Canadian beef again as the Taiwanese government’s past actions could scare away willing customers.

We need to get back to building that relationship again and establishing confidence with importers in Taiwan. And, on the other side, we need to convince our own Canadian beef producers that it will be lucrative to divert their products to Taiwan, and away from the fairly profitable markets they are currently selling to,​” said Masswohl.

Marketing to target Taiwan

Lawrence MacAulay, the Canadian minister of agriculture and agri-food, welcomed the news: “This is an excellent opportunity for the Canadian cattle industry to export its high-quality Canadian beef to the global marketplace. The government continues to push for access to more markets around the world in order to ensure Canadian producers and agri-businesses are thriving and successful for the long term.​”

Canada Beef (CB), an industry association, also welcomed the reopening, with its president Rob Meijer announcing that its future marketing will focus on the value that Canadian beef can bring to Taiwan. CB said that currently, 95% of Taiwan’s beef was imported, giving Canadian beef a large opportunity to be competitive and work towards becoming a leading player in the beef market.

The focus of our brand efforts continues to be high-end steakhouses, foodservice and hotel restaurants. With regained access, we have the ability to deliver supplies of Canadian beef to our target customers and further increase brand loyalty, demand and overall value for our product,​” Meijer said.

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