Trade tensions related to ractopamine use have impacted U.S. pork exports to Taiwan for many years. But the issue reached a boiling point in 2021 when Taiwan announced that it would depart from its zero-tolerance policy on ractopamine and begin accepting imports within certain tolerance levels . Jihae Yang, U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) vice president for the Asia Pacific, said pushback from activists in Taiwan and extensive residue testing requirements imposed by some governmental entities made importers, processors, and other customers reluctant to purchase U.S. pork.
“Taiwan would begin allowing the importation of pork containing ractopamine on January 1st, 2021,” Yang said. “The response from the public was an anti-ractopamine demonstration in Taipei featuring thousands of people and cities and the province authorities campaigned to undermine the credibility and safety of U.S. pork. It includes the heavy testing on U.S. pork distributed in the market eventually making restaurants and retailers reluctant to feature U.S pork.”
However, global pork supply dynamics have taken a favorable turn in 2023, and the U.S. industry is capitalizing on tight supplies of European pork and domestic Taiwanese pork. Yang said U.S. spareribs, loins, and tenderloins are regaining traction in Taiwan’s foodservice sector, and U.S. pork belly and collar butt are being featured by high-end retailers.
“The global pork supply dynamics shifted favorably to U.S. while the EU pork supply got tighter, and the price has increased significantly,” Yang said. “At the same time, Taiwan’s local pork price remained high. This year, we see more inquiries on U.S. pork from foodservice and the wholesale customers. And U.S. pork market share has increased from 1.3% to 9%. Sparerib, loin, and tenderloin are being entered into foodservice and branded belly and collar butt are being sold in high-end retail. Although the peak pork processors are still cautious about using U.S. pork, we believe the acceptance will increase throughout the chain, creating more favorable environment for end users to feature U.S. pork.”
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