Currently no change on import ban for American pork: foreign ministry
The government currently has no plan to change its existing ban on the imports of U.S. pork containing the leanness-enhancing drug ractopamine, a Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) official said yesterday.
Answering questions during a regular briefing, Christine Hsueh ( ), director general of MOFA’s Department of North American Affairs, said MOFA is not the government entity to decide on whether to lift the ban or not.
She noted, however, that so far she did not hear of any possible change regarding the ban and on whether the government could lift it after the U.S. has repeatedly expressed concern.
The ministry is well aware of the U.S. stance over the issue, Hsueh said. Washington also understands perfectly Taipei’s stance on ractopamine used in pork, she added.
“Our government’s stance is clear. Food safety and the health of R.O.C. nationals are our top priorities before the government decides whether to lift the existing ban or not,” she said.
The MOFA official was asked to comment on remarks previously made by Vice Economic Minister Cho Shih-chao ( ) who said in July that Taiwan needs to lift the ban to allow U.S. pork products to enter the local market if it wants to join the U.S.-led TransPacific Partnership (TPP).
During a meeting with Taiwanese students last month, Cho said the Taiwan government needs to do so if it wants to enter the regional economic bloc, according to a Chinese- language Liberty Times report.
Cho, however, changed his story when approached by reporter a day later. He said that his remark represented his “personal view” only and does not represent the government’s stance, the report said.
Since 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 for beef.
At a press event in Washington, D.C. on March 26, William Craft, deputy assistant secretary for trade policy and programs at the State Department’s Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs, said that the U.S. beef and pork import issue is something that Taiwan needs to address to speed up its efforts to join the TPP.
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.
Craft said that the U.S. continues to push in “every place where we feel that people are trying to hide behind false science for protectionist purposes.”