Retailers and restaurants have taken a low-profile approach to the reintroduction of US beef into the Taiwanese market, expected next week. No major marketing campaigns are on the horizon, the Taipei Times has reported.

Taiwan banned US beef in December 2003 after a case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) was detected in the US. Imports resumed in April 2005, only to cease in June when a second case of BSE was found. Taiwan's decision to reopen the borders to US beef so quickly has caused many to wonder whether it is the result of political pressure. These fears left many consumers with a sceptical attitude towards US beef.

The first shipment of US beef, arriving at the CKS International Airport, will be subjected to more rigorous government inspections before it is allowed to pass through customs.

"We're told the observation period will last for about five days, which means beef imports will not hit market shelves until Wednesday next week," Daisy Lee, corporate affairs manager of Tesco Stores (Taiwan), told the Taipei Times.