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Envoy eyes market for Canadian beef

TAIPEI--Canada's top envoy to Taiwan has expressed the hope that Taiwan will lift its ban on Canadian bone-in beef this year, a main topic on the agenda of bilateral trade talks in April.

“We have been working with Taiwan for some time to complete our beef access,” Kathleen Mackay, who took over as executive director of the Canadian Trade Office in Taipei last September, said.

Although the beef issue is “moving along slowly,” she said she hopes the ban will be lifted this year.

Mackay's remarks came after Taiwan's government sent a delegation to Canada last September to inspect slaughterhouses to evaluate Canada's request to allow imports of its bone-in beef.

Since Canada's first case of mad cow disease in 2003, it has made efforts to prove the safety of its beef, which is now no longer a problem for most markets in the world, Mackay said, citing Japan and South Korea as examples.

“We are very comfortable with our food safety system and the beef that we are producing,” she said in her first exclusive interview with local media since taking up her position in Taiwan.

After Canada's first outbreak of mad cow disease, or bovine spongiform encephalopathy, Taiwan imposed a ban on beef from that country but reopened its market to imports of boneless beef in 2007.

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The photo shows Kathleen Mackay, the executive director of the Canadian Trade Office in Taipei, posing outside the office in Taipei, yesterday. She expressed the hope that Taiwan will lift its ban on Canadian bone-in beef this year, a main topic on the agenda of bilateral trade talks in April. (CNA)

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