Taiwan Reconsiders US Beef Import Laws

TAIWAN - Taiwan still welcomes American beef imports that do not contain the food additive ractopamine and will re-examine its domestic law in July with a view to resolving a lingering beef dispute with the United States, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said.
calendar icon 14 April 2011
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Taiwan is still importing great volumes of US beef that do not contain ractopamine, a banned food additive in Taiwan, and it will continue to hold dialogue with the US to resolve the year-long dispute over the issue, MOFA spokesman James Chang told reporters at Focus Taiwan.

In January, Taipei blocked some shipments of US beef after it was found that the meat contained residues of ractopamine. The blockage was seen by the US as a violation of a beef protocol signed with Taiwan in 2009.

Washington subsequently decided to postpone a planned new round of negotiations under the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA), an official framework for handling Taiwan-US trade and economic issues.

Mr Chang said beef that contains ractopamine is only a small percentage of Taiwan's US beef imports, which in turn is a small part of overall Taiwan-US trade relations.

He urged the US to look at the issue in the broader context of bilateral relations and expressed the hope that dispute would be settled soon with continued communication between Taipei and Washington.

Ractopamine is prohibited by law in Taiwan, but a Maximum Residue Level (MRL) for the substance could eventually be set, he said.

However, Mr Chang said, this will not happen before a meeting of the Codex Alimentarius Commission in July, and not unless there is consensus on the issue following public hearings and joint consultations of different government agencies.

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