US beef exports valued at more than US$1.7 billion last year will resume in a matter of weeks after Japan agreed to ease a 10-month ban on the meat prompted by a lone case of mad cow disease in Washington state. \nJapan will allow beef imports from cattle under 20 months old, US Department of Agriculture Undersecretary J. B. Penn said in Tokyo after three days of talks between the two countries. Full beef trade may resume after a review in July, he said. US officials are heading to South Korea and Taiwan today for negotiations on reopening those markets. \nJapan, the biggest overseas customer for US beef, and more than 40 other nations suspended imports of the meat in December last year after the government announced the first case of mad cow disease in US history. The import bans threatened more than US$3.8 billion in annual US exports and eroded profit for beef producers such as Tyson Foods Inc and Cargill Inc. \n"This agreement is kind of the gateway to all the other markets that haven't opened yet," said Gregg Doud, an economist with the National Cattlemen's Beef Association. \nDoud said he expects Korea, the third-biggest overseas buyer of US beef with more than US$500 million of purchases last year, to resume imports once Japanese shipments begin. "The Koreans have signaled for some time that they were waiting on the US and Japan," he said. \nCattle futures in Chicago plunged 12 percent between Dec. 23 last year, when the US disclosed its mad cow case, and Feb. 4 this year, when prices closed at 71.375 cents a pound, the lowest this year. Since then futures have gained 23 percent on strong domestic demand for beef, fueled by the popularity of high-protein, low-carbohydrate diets. \nYesterday, cattle for December delivery finished at 88.025 cents a pound, up 1.2 percent from a year ago. \n"We're talking here a matter of weeks" before Japan begins importing some US beef, Penn said. "We are very eager to once again be able supply high-quality, safe beef products to Japanese consumers." Beef trade may expand once procedures for confirming the age of cattle that qualify for import are reviewed with participation from the US, Japan and World Health Organization and other experts in July next year, Penn said. \nUnder the agreement, Japan will also be allowed to resume beef exports to the US from cattle under 20 months old. The US banned beef from Japan after that country found the first of more than a dozen cases of mad cow disease in September 2001. \nJapan had been shipping between 70 tonnes and 100 tonnes of beef, mostly premium Kobe beef, annually before the ban. \nJapan purchased more than US$1.7 billion worth of beef and beef products last year, according to a statement today from the US Department of Agriculture. The US Meat Export Federation put the figure at US$1.5 billion. \nUntil now, Mexico, the second-biggest buyer of the meat, had been the only major US trading partner to resume purchases. \nTaiwan, the sixth-largest buyer of US beef, is also expected to reopen its markets shortly, said Lynn Heinze, a spokesman for the Denver-based US Meat Export Federation. \nTaiwanese officials completed a review of US safety standards last week and the island nation expects to host a technical team from the US in the next few weeks, he said. \n"Taiwan looks pretty good," Heinze said.
HELPING HAND: Taiwan is ready to help other nations and will not sit idly by while the global fight against the coronavirus continues, President Tsai Ing-wen said Taiwan, as a responsible member of the international community, is to offer humanitarian assistance to nations hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic by sending them masks and medicine, as well as sharing with them an electronic system that the government has been using to track down people that need to be quarantined, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said yesterday. With the nation’s daily production having reached 13 million masks and soon to reach 15 million, the government is to donate 10 million masks to medical personnel in nations most severely affected by the coronavirus, Tsai said at the Presidential Office in Taipei. The
NINE NEW CASES: The CECC said two locally transmitted cases of COVID-19, and seven imported ones – five women and two men – brought the nation’s total to 348 People who refuse to wear a mask on public transportation after being asked to do so would face a NT$3,000 to NT$15,000 fine, effective immediately, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said yesterday after announcing nine additional COVID-19 cases. In a move to curtail the spread of the novel coronavirus, the Ministry of Transportation and Communications on Tuesday announced that people must wear masks on trains and intercity buses, while Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, on Tuesday said that people should wear them when they cannot maintain a social distance of 1.5m indoors. Chen yesterday
TRILLION PROPOSED: The premier said the goal was to keep ‘businesses solvent, the unemployment rate down, transportation and logistics going, and cash flowing’ The Executive Yuan yesterday announced an expanded economic stimulus package totaling NT$1.05 trillion (US$34.64 billion), including NT$81.6 billion in subsidies for employers to prevent a spike in unemployment. The increased budget comprises a special budget of NT$210 billion, up from the NT$60 billion already passed by the Legislative Yuan; NT$140 billion — up from NT$40 billion — to be appropriated from the general budget; and NT$700 billion in loans to industries affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics Minister Chu Tzer-ming (朱澤民) told a news conference at the Executive Yuan in Taipei. The NT$150 billion increase in the
The Central Epidemic Command Center yesterday released a set of revised criteria for reporting suspected COVID-19 cases, while also announcing its guidelines for disclosing patients’ personal information. The center said that its advisory specialist panel revised the definition for “severe pneumonia with novel pathogens” — COVID-19 infection — by expanding the criteria needed to report suspected cases. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said that physicians should report people for testing if they meet one of three clinical conditions: They have a fever, acute respiratory infection, or a lack of smell or taste; there is a