Taiwan officials moved Thursday to ease a political storm over the government's decision lifting a ban on certain U.S. beef imports.
More than 100 people protested against the decision to lift the six-year ban on bone-in cuts like T-bones and Porterhouse steaks, as well as minced beef and offal. Nevertheless, Taiwan's President said adequate safeguards are in place to guard against Mad Cow Disease.
Prospects of increased exports are a welcome development for the livestock industry, and this week PORK producers learned the outlook also is improving for shipments of their goods.
Last May, Chinese officials put a ban on U.S. pork imports because of fears related to the H1N1 virus. On Thursday of this week, China took a step in towards easing trade disputes with the U.S. when it agreed to lift the ban.
Prior to the ban, China was the fastest growing market for U.S. pork exports and had purchased $560 million to $700 million worth of pork products in 2008. The ban closed the market for American pork in China and cost the industry millions of dollars a week.
No date has been set for lifting the ban, but Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack hailed it as a victory nonetheless, and said "China's intent to remove its H1N1 – related ban on U.S. pork marks an important step forward in cooperation between the countries on agriculture issues."
Since the viral outbreak, as many as 16 nations have banned American pork. Thursday's announcement could be a sign that efforts by U.S. officials to debunk the notion that H1N1 can be spread by eating pork is at least finding some success.
Lean hog prices rallied on the news Thursday.