No plan to lift ban on Amer­i­can pork im­ports: MOFA

The China Post - - LOCAL - BY JOSEPH YEH

Tai­wan has no plan to lift its cur­rent ban on the im­ports of U.S. pork con­tain­ing the lean­ness-en­hanc­ing drug rac­topamine, a Min­istry of For­eign Af­fairs (MOFA) of­fi­cial said yes­ter­day.

Kelly Hsieh ( ), head of MOFA’s Depart­ment of North Amer­i­can Af­fairs, yes­ter­day said at a regular news brief­ing that Tai­wan’s gov­ern­ment has no plan to change the ban de­spite U.S.’s re­peat­edly ex­pressed con­cern.

“We will con­tinue to talk to U.S. coun­ter­parts to make clear our stance,” Hsieh said.

The MOFA of­fi­cial made the re­marks when asked to com­ment on re­marks made by two U.S. se­nior of­fi­cials’ last month who said that Tai­wan needs to re­solve is­sues sur­round- ing the im­port of U.S. meat prod­ucts to speed up its push to join the U.S.led Trans-Pa­cific Part­ner­ship (TPP).

Asked by The China Post what Tai­wan can do to speed up the process for Tai­wan to join the TPP, Wil­liam Craft, deputy as­sis­tant sec­re­tary for trade pol­icy and pro­grams at the U.S. State Depart­ment’s Bureau of Eco­nomic and Busi­ness Af­fairs, said at a press event in Wash­ing­ton, D.C. on March 26 that the U.S. beef and pork im­port is­sue is some­thing that Tai­wan needs to deal with.

Say­ing that Tai­wan’s ban on cer­tain U.S. meat prod­ucts is not based on solid science, the U.S. of­fi­cial said this kind of pro­tec­tion­ism is a prob­lem the U.S. cur­rently has with a num­ber of Asian coun­tries.

He noted that the U.S. con­tin­ues to push “ev­ery place where we feel that peo­ple are try­ing to hide be­hind false science for pro­tec­tion­ist pur­poses.“It will cer­tainly fa­cil­i­tate things if Tai­wan could help re­solve our long­stand­ing con­cerns about this mat­ter,” he added.

Speak­ing dur­ing the same event, Robert Wang, a U.S. se­nior of­fi­cial at Asia-Pa­cific Eco­nomic Co­op­er­a­tion (APEC), said the rac­topamine is­sue had com­pli­cated bi­lat­eral trade talks be­fore.

He said the U.S. gov­ern­ment made the same point to a Tai­wanese del­e­ga­tion con­sist­ing of for­mer eco­nomic of­fi­cials dur­ing its re­cent visit to Wash­ing­ton.

“They (mem­bers of the Tai­wanese del­e­ga­tion) clearly got the mes­sage that we need to re­solve this agri­cul­tural is­sue in or­der to in­crease the chances of Tai­wan mov­ing ahead to join TPP,” he noted.

Asked to com­ment, Hsieh yes­ter­day con­firmed that the U.S. has re­peat­edly ex­pressed its con­cern over Tai­wan’s reg­u­la­tions on agri­cul­tural prod­ucts from the U.S.

But he stressed that bi­lat­eral com­mu­ni­ca­tion has been tak­ing place smoothly on the is­sue as both sides have talked about it dur­ing the bi­lat­eral Trade and In­vest­ment Frame­work Agree­ment (TIFA) talks.

Af­ter Tai­wan’s lift­ing of its ban on rac­topamine in beef prod­ucts in 2012, the U.S. has been push­ing the coun­try to es­tab­lish a max­i­mum residue level for rac­topamine used in pork as it did in beef.

The Tai­wanese gov­ern­ment, how­ever, has in­sisted that it will not lift a ban on U.S. pork im­ports con­tain­ing the ad­di­tive rac­topamine.

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