Kansas has signed a trade agreement with Taiwan as part of a deal for US beef producers to furnish beef hides. The trade agreement calls for Taiwan to import up to 6 million hides from the US in 2006 and 2007. The agreement is worth about $420 million – nearly $130 million with Kansas alone.

Tsong-Ming Wang, deputy chairman of the Taiwan Regional Association of Tanneries, signed the agreement at the Statehouse along with Todd Johnson of the Kansas Beef Council. Taiwan has been one the top oversees markets for Kansas farmers for decades. Since 1995, Taiwan has been the sixth-largest overseas market for American agricultural products and the third-largest market for US cattle hides.

‘They have been importing our hides for many years and they want to keep it going’, Johnson said. ‘It shows good faith on their part by coming to the state and gain a better understanding of our process.’ He said Taiwan’s biggest need for hides is for making leather shoes.

Kansas ranks second nationally in hides and skins exported from the United States, totaling $333 million in 2003 and ranked third last year in red meat production with beef accounting for the 5.6 billion pounds. The state also ranks second behind Texas with 6.6 million cattle on ranches and feedlots.

Kansas Livestock Association: http://www.kla.org

Kansas Department of Commerce: http://www.kansascommerce.com

Source: Miami Herald