Cur­rently no change on im­port ban for Amer­i­can pork: for­eign min­istry

The China Post - - LOCAL - BY JOSEPH YEH

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.”

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