Taiwan’s demand for U.S. beef has remained strong despite restaurant restrictions due to COVID.
Because of their low number of COVID cases in 2020, Taiwan was able to stay strong as a leading destination for U.S. beef exports. Unfortunately, an increase in COVID cases that began in mid-May has caused health officials in Taiwan to close dine-in restaurant services and only allow takeout and delivery. Joel Haggard, U.S. Meat Export Federation senior vice president for the Asia Pacific, talked about how this affects U.S. beef exports.
“In Taiwan, which was the first to close its international borders in response to COVID on the last day of 2019, a small leak linked to pilots cause a major breakout among the unvaccinated population, which resulted in closures in most of the economy since mid-May,” Haggard said. “This includes many of our U.S. beef restaurant customers, who are now forced to do take-away business only. Cases are now rapidly falling due to the tough social distancing rules, and the government has said it will relax dining rules, but many local governments then announced that they will keep their restrictions on until late July. Taiwan was the star market performer for U.S. beef during the pandemic last year, purchasing a record volume of product, but shipments got off to a slow start this year. Taiwan buyers were a bit caught off-guard by the aggressive beef-buying by China, and Taiwanese and Chinese buyers buy the same mix of cuts. But we finally saw a large rebound in U.S. beef exports in May as demand for U.S. has remained robust.”
Haggard expects Taiwan’s demand for U.S. beef to remain strong in the second half of the year.
“So overall, despite the restaurant closures, the outlook for U.S. beef demand during the second half of the year is optimistic,” Haggard said. “The epidemic curve is dropping fast, the pace of vaccinations is accelerating, and there should be a rush back to restaurants once they reopen.”
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