In 2008, the United States broke another record by replacing Australia to become Taiwan’s No. 1 beef supplier in terms of import value, according to a new report from the U.S. Foreign Agricultural Service. Trade data for the first 11 months of 2008 indicated that Taiwan imported US $126 million worth of U.S. beef, while Taiwan imported US $103 million worth of Australian beef. Volume-wise, the United States took 31 percent of the market share while Australia and New Zealand took 36 percent and 27 percent, respectively. Total beef imports in 2009 might be impacted by the global economic slowdown, resulting in decreased purchasing power of Taiwan consumers. However, U.S. beef is expected to remain competitive, with hope of expanding its market share. Read more.

In related news, Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said this week it was “optimistic” the government would allow a comprehensive opening to U.S. beef “sometime this year” after a four-year ban on meat from U.S. cattle aged more than 30 months. According to a report in the Taipei Times, the issue topped the agenda in recent negotiations between U.S. and Taiwan trade officials and is reaching its final stage. For more information, click here.