US beef & pork imports are two separate issues: council
CNATAIPEI--The Council of Agriculture (COA) reiterated yesterday that the government will maintain its ban on U.S. pork imports containing ractopamine residues, despite its opening last year to U.S. beef with permissible levels of the livestock leanness enhancing drug.
February 22, 2013, 12:03 am TWN
The government will stick to its policy of dealing with pork and beef imports separately, whether or not the United States raises the issue with Taiwan, officials at the council's Department of International Affairs said.
Taiwan last year ended its zero-tolerance policy on ractopamine in U.S. beef imports and adopted a maximum residue level of 10 parts per billion, in accordance with standards set by the Codex Alimentarius Commission.
But since the resolution of the long-running dispute between Taipei and Washington on the beef trade, there have been concerns that the pork trade might become an issue in the upcoming Taiwan-U.S. talks under the bilateral Trade and Investment Framework Agreement, which is scheduled for March 11-12 in Taipei.
In dealing with the issue, the government will take into consideration the health of Taiwan consumers and the development of the domestic pork industry, in light of the fact that pork plays a central role in the diet of the local population, the COA officials said.
On average, each person in Taiwan consumes 37.3 kilograms of pork per year, which is more than seven times the beef consumption of 4.9 kilograms per person per year, the officials noted.
With 90 percent of the pork on the Taiwan market currently being supplied locally, opening Taiwan's market to imports will inevitably affect local farmers, the officials said.
Meanwhile, Yang Kuan-chang, president of the R.O.C. Swine Association, expressed support for the government's policy of dealing with the pork and beef issues separately and maintaining its ban on pork imports containing ractopamine.