U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) Technical Services Manager Travis Arp has just returned from Taiwan, where he conducted educational sessions for buyers of U.S. beef and pork.

After slumping in 2012 due to controversy over Taiwan’s beta agonist policies, demand for U.S. red meat is definitely on the rise. Taiwan’s September import data showed U.S. beef volume (2,871 metric tons) up 327 percent from a year ago while import value was up nearly 400 percent to $24.7 million. For the first nine months of the year, imports of U.S. beef were up 159 percent in volume (24,228 metric tons) and 215 percent in value ($198.7 million).

September was also a big month for Taiwan’s imports of U.S. pork muscle cuts, which nearly doubled in volume (810 metric tons) and increased 71 percent in value ($1.63 million) from a year ago. For January through September, imports of U.S. pork muscle cuts were up 49 percent in volume (7,291 metric tons) from a year ago and 29 percent in value ($15.6 million).

Arp notes that Taiwan’s adoption of a maximum residue level (MRL) for ractopamine has allowed U.S. beef to flow more smoothly into the market, giving buyers greater confidence in the ability to secure well-marbled, grain-fed products for their customers. He provided buyers for Taiwan’s steakhouse sector with cutting demonstrations on several promising cuts from the chuck. While no change in beta agonist policy was adopted for pork, Arp reports that buyers are pleased with the availability of U.S. pork and it is in high demand among Taiwan’s meat processors.