September 15, 2003



Taiwan, South Korea Want Certified No Canada Beef In US Exports

Taiwan and South Korea want the U.S. to certify that none of its exports contain beef from Canada, much like the regulations required by Japan, according to U.S. industry and government officials.


In a copy of a letter Taiwan sent this week to the U.S., Taiwan demands U.S. exports contain only "beef or beef product...derived from cattle slaughtered in the U.S. or...legally imported into the U.S. from a country currently eligible to export to Taiwan," according a U.S. industry official.


South Korea has submitted similar requirements to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, according to USDA and industry officials.


That is why, according to one USDA official, the department will be soon updating South Korea and Taiwan's protocols in the Food Safety and Inspection Service's Library of Export Requirements.


Taiwan and South Korea still ban all beef from Canada because of the discovery there of bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or mad-cow disease, in May. The U.S. recently eased its ban on some Canadian beef, but still prohibits Canadian live cattle.


The USDA has been expecting the new requirement demands since at least Aug. 25 when FSIS Assistant Administrator Karen Stuck wrote in a notice that Japan and the U.S. had agreed on a new Beef Export Verification program to certify U.S. exports. In the notice, Stuck wrote that "it is likely that similar changes will be forthcoming for other countries including Korea and Taiwan."


One USDA official, who asked not to be named, confirmed that Taiwan and other countries "have been hinting" for a while that they may want U.S. beef exporters to be certified under the BEV program.


Another USDA official, also speaking on terms of anonymity, said, "We got some unofficial correspondence that (South) Korea and Taiwan would probably go to the BEV program."


However, a U.S. industry source stressed that it is still unclear whether U.S. exporters will have to qualify for the BEV program to meet the new requirements.


It may not make a difference, though, the industry official said, because about 100 U.S. beef processors have already qualified to participate in the BEV program in order to export to Japan and many of them are also the largest shippers to South Korea and Taiwan.
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