Taiwan’s Department of Health on Oct. 22 announced a protocol that when implemented will further expand market access for U.S. beef and beef products. U.S. beef exports to Taiwan plummeted to 150,000 lbs in 2004 compared with 48.9 million lbs the year before because of the detection in the United States of individual cattle infected with bovine spongiform encephalopathy (B.S.E.). Since 2004, the United States increased beef and veal exports to Taiwan as that country’s concerns over the safety of U.S. beef waned amid science-based assertions from the World Health Organization, the World Organization for Animal Health (O.I.E.) and U.S. agriculture and food safety agencies that there were no health risks involved in consuming beef products from the United States. U.S. beef and veal exports to Taiwan reached a record 85.4 million lbs valued at around $128 million in 2008.

A spokeswoman for the U.S. Department of Agriculture said, “After two years of extensive negotiations, the U.S. has been looking forward to an announcement from Taiwan authorities that Taiwan would fully open its market to American beef and beef products on the basis of the bilateral protocol we have negotiated. The protocol that Taiwan promulgated today is science based and follows the guidelines of the O.I.E. as well as the findings of Taiwan’s own risk assessment of the safety of U.S. beef.”