Taiwan set to resume pork exports later this year after 2-decade hiatus

Island country declared victory in eradicating foot-and-mouth disease in 2019

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(Pixabay photo)

(Pixabay photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan can expect to resume fresh pork exports as early as the second half of this year, according to the country's animal husbandry authorities on Monday (June 8).

Taiwan is set to receive a notice by the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) on its foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) status next week, following due audits. It will join Japan as one of only two Asian countries free of the highly contagious viral disease and where vaccination is not practiced, reported CNA.

The island country experienced a major outbreak of FMD in 1997 due to sick pigs smuggled from China, which led to the culling of over 4 million swine and dealt a huge blow to the country's pork industry. The epidemic has cost the country export orders worth NT$60 billion (US$2 billion) annually, wrote Global Views Monthly.

Taiwan embarked on a program to terminate FMD inoculation on July 1, 2018, announcing last July its success at eradicating the disease after a year of zero FMD cases. COA officials said OIE has completed a review and will formally notify Taiwan of the change in status this month.

The FMD status change would signal Taiwan's return to the international fresh pork market, with Singapore among the first countries likely to import related products. Taiwan currently exports only a limited amount of processed pork products to a handful of nations, according to the Council of Agriculture (COA).

Taiwan has managed to ward off the African swine fever (ASF) with rigorous border inspections and the introduction of hefty fines. A dozen countries in Asia have been plagued by the deadly disease, including China, Vietnam, the Philippines, South Korea, and Indonesia.