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Impressive Rebound for U.S. Pork in Taiwan

Published: Sep 25, 2023

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Following setbacks that caused exports of U.S. pork to Taiwan to plummet over the past two years, demand has rebounded dramatically in 2023. 

Trade tensions related to ractopamine use have impacted U.S. pork exports to Taiwan for many years. But the issue reached a boiling point in 2021 when Taiwan announced that it would depart from its zero-tolerance policy on ractopamine and begin accepting imports within certain tolerance levels. Jihae Yang, USMEF vice president for the Asia Pacific, explains that pushback from activists in Taiwan and extensive residue testing requirements imposed by some governmental entities made importers, processors and other customers reluctant to purchase U.S. pork. 

But global pork supply dynamics have taken a favorable turn in 2023, and the U.S. industry is capitalizing on tight supplies of European pork and domestic Taiwanese pork. Yang notes that U.S. spareribs, loins and tenderloins are regaining traction in Taiwan’s foodservice sector and U.S. pork belly and collar butt are being featured by high-end retailers. As a result, U.S. exports to Taiwan (through July) reached the highest level in 10 years, with export value increasing more than 600% year-over-year to $41.3 million. With this surge in demand, U.S. pork market share in Taiwan has climbed from just 1.3% last year to 9% in 2023.