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WASHINGTON -- Taiwan has agreed to resume imports of U.S. beef and beef products, U.S. Department of Agriculture officials said yesterday. The news comes on the heels of Japan's decision to resume limited beef trade with the United States, cemented last weekend by a delegation of U.S. and Japanese government officials. U.S. officials are hopeful that China, South Korea, Hong Kong, and Egypt will soon follow suit.
In 2003 Taiwan's purchases of beef and beef products amounted to approximately $325 million. "We are very pleased with this progress in yet another important beef market," Agriculture Secretary Ann M. Veneman said. "We are continuing our market-opening efforts in the remaining key countries. Our goal is a return to normal beef trade as quickly as possible."
Taiwanese officials said the final evaluations were nearing completion, with the final step being on-site inspections of the implemented BSE prevention measures in the United States. Taiwan officials indicated that the required assessments and evaluations for trade to resume were nearing completion. The final step is on-site inspection of the major features and implementation of the U.S. BSE measures.
A delegation of Taiwanese experts will now travel to the United States for these site visits, which will begin Nov. 10.