September 29, 2003

 

 

More Iowa Pork For Taiwan

 

Taiwanese meat importers have agreed to buy up to 100 million pounds of pork and other Iowa meat products over the next three years.

Leaders of the China Meat Import Distribution Association signed a letter of intent with the Governor of Iowa, Tom Vilsack in Taiwan Monday. Such an agreement would likely
double Iowa pork exports to the island nation next year, and again by 2006, translating an additional $50 million in trade for Iowa farmers, said Vilsack in a statement.

 

"This is an historic agreement that will broaden our trading relationship with Taiwan. This will create expanded opportunities for Iowa's agricultural community including producers, processors, and suppliers to those industries," he said.

Currently, Taiwan imports 19.8 million pounds of Iowa pork and other Iowa meat products. Next year, Taiwan will import 39.6 million pounds of Iowa pork, and in 2006, it plans to import 66 million pounds. This would be like having six semitrailers full of pork each day for one year.

Included in the package is a joint market research effort to develop meat products that could be marketed in Taiwan.

According to latest available figures from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Taiwanese consumed about 95 pounds of pork per person in 1999. Per capita consumption in the United States was about 70 pounds.

Vilsack said the trade deal comes at a crucial time, because the farm economy is under increased pressure because of weather woes, with the driest August summer this year on record. Rainfall in Iowa was less than half his year than normal, he said.

The governor said the deal would not only benefit farmers, but would aid processors and suppliers as well. Taiwan is the state's 13th largest trading partner.