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Statement on U.S. Beef by AIT Director Stephen M. Young AIT Press Conference November 12, 2008

OT0815E | Date: 2008-11-12

I would like to say a few words about U.S. beef.  Authorities in both the U.S. and Taiwan need to protect consumer health, while also making a wide variety of safe, competitively priced products available to consumers.  To ensure these priorities are met, food safety decisions must be science-based and based on international standards.

Currently Taiwan only allows the import from the United States of certain U.S. beef products. One of the United States' top priorities - on which we have engaged Taiwan intensively - is resuming trade in all U.S. beef and beef products, consistent with the science and based on international standards.

Taiwan's health authorities are studying our request, and we understand that all of Taiwan's scientific review and technical work is now complete.  It is now time for Taiwan's authorities to make a science-based decision.

Resuming imports of all U.S. beef and beef products would further invigorate this important trading relationship and will benefit Taiwan's consumers by providing stable and secure access to high-quality food products, like beef.  Taiwan's consumers have already been enjoying high-quality U.S. de-boned beef in their everyday life.  The United States currently already supplies 32 percent of Taiwan's beef. It is time for them to enjoy access to the same range of U.S. beef and beef products that U.S. consumers eat and enjoy every day.   

In today's world, we all know how important food safety is.  We are faced with decisions about what food to buy in our supermarkets every day.  The newspaper stories we read about food safety make us all think more carefully.

Taiwan's consumers may feel assured that when the international standards body OIE (World Organization for Animal Health) gave the United States its controlled-risk classification in May 2007, it was after a team of the world's most renowned BSE experts reviewed the preventative and food-safety measures in place in the United States.  This classification reaffirmed the strength of the U.S. government's many controls to ensure safe trade in beef.

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