Tuesday, February 14, 2012

US beef controversy resurfaced

l  A controversy resurfaced this week over the US beef imports to Taiwan. In fact, since the signing of the US beef protocol in November 2009, the controversy surrounding the safety of US beef imports never went away completely.

l  Though subsequent media reports have been sporadic, Taiwan's ban on US beef products containing the feed additive ractopamine has hindered progress in bilateral ties, particularly the resumption of high-level trade talks under the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) between Washington and Taipei.

l  An ad-hoc inter-agency task force—including the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA), Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), Council of Agriculture (COA), and Ministry of Health (MOH)—was subsequently set up in the Cabinet to formulate a strategy.

l  Whether the ban on ractopamine gets lifted or whether a stricter residue level is adopted, the standard will be the same for local and imported meat products.

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