Taiwan’s August imports of U.S. beef and pork far exceeded the levels of a year ago, when controversy over Taiwan’s beta agonist testing policies had created a difficult business climate for U.S. meat products. While the market outlook in Taiwan remains positive, USMEF-Taiwan cautions that a recent increase in cold storage capacity has allowed meat inventories to rise. So import activity could slow in the final quarter of this year, depending on how quickly the market absorbs the larger supplies on hand.
August imports of U.S. beef were up more than 700 percent in volume (1,971 mt) and 600 percent in value ($17.4 million) from last year’s low totals. From January through August, imports increased 146 percent in volume to 21,356 mt and tripled in value to $174 million. Chilled U.S. beef fared even better, with imports increasing 220 percent in volume (6,789 mt) and 248 percent in value ($69.1 million).
Midsummer imports of Australian beef surged due to restocking by importers and a price decline for beef shank, though January-August imports from Australia remained slightly below last year’s pace. Popular Australian beef products in this market include knuckle, shank, rib finger and chuck tender. U.S. chuck tender is still less expensive than Australian, though it has not yet gained traction in the market with likely buyers, such as beef jerky manufacturers.
August imports of U.S. pork muscle cuts also far exceeded last year’s totals, increasing 262 percent in volume (1.096 mt) and 210 percent in value ($2.2 million). For January through August, imports increased 44 percent in volume (6,481 mt) and 25 percent in value ($13.9 million). Taiwan’s pork imports from all sources increased 34 percent in volume and 15 percent in value over the same period.
Imports of U.S. pork variety meat also achieved significant gains in August, increasing 28 percent in volume (628 mt) and 22 percent in value ($1.4 million) from a year ago. For the first eight months of 2013, imports of U.S. pork variety meat were up 14 percent in volume (8,047 mt) and 16 percent in value ($18.6 million).