The Council of Agriculture (COA) stated that the Taiwanese market has long been opened to imported beef. In addition, different retail channels of domestic beef and imported beef create distinctive market segmentation. The lifting of the ban on Japanese, Dutch, and Swedish beef would see beef products from these three countries replacing those from other countries. Consequently, there would be no impact on Taiwan’s domestic beef industry.
Multiple channels of imported beef offer consumers more choices
The COA explained that currently domestic beef accounts for approximately 6% of the self-sufficiency ratio, while imported beef accounts for 94%, among which the United States, Australia, and New Zealand take up 90%. After lifting the ban on Japanese, Dutch, and Swedish beef, it is expected that they would create competition and import substitution. On the other hand, beef self-sufficiency ratio in Japan is at the relatively low 40% with an annual export volume of roughly 1,900 metric tons, mainly consisting of high-grade Wagyu beef destined to limited international markets. As a result, the import of Japanese beef would not create an impact on Taiwan's beef industry, but rather provide local consumers with more choices.
Taiwanese consumers prefer to blanch fresh domestic beef
The COA pointed out that most Taiwanese are used to blanching or boiling freshly butchered domestic beef, which is barely sold in the forms of cuts such as short ribs or T-bone. It differs greatly from imported chilled and frozen beef, which is primarily supplied as steak for western-style restaurants or thinly-sliced meat for hot pot restaurants. The Council reiterated that based on the local consumption habit, the open of market to beef from the three aforementioned countries should not have any impact on domestic beef market.
Accomplish market segmentation and complete industrial communication
In order to segment domestic and imported beef products, the COA launched the Domestic Beef Traceability System in 2012, which provides consumers with production source and relevant information of domestic beef. Additionally, the Council encouraged domestic beef shops to implement the traceability system enhance the difference between domestic and imported beef so as to help consumers recognize and purchase domestic beef with ease. The Council would continue to communicate with beef industry and associations regarding the issues of importing superior breeds of cattle for beef breeding, improve management technology, and establish excellent production-sales channels with unique characteristics and branding to expedite the industry’s upgrading.