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Taiwan asks to resume long-stalled trade talks with US

WASHINGTON--Taiwan's representative office in the United States has asked the U.S. to resume long-stalled trade talks after the Legislature passed an amendment to a food safety act to lift a an on imports of U.S. beef containing ractopamine.

The representative office called the Office of the United States Trade Representative to convey the hope that long-stalled talks can be restarted under the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement, a pact signed in 1994 to provide a platform to discuss bilateral trade and economic issues. The talks have been stalled since 2007 due to the beef dispute.

“Taiwan hopes talks can be resumed as soon as possible to further Taiwan-U.S. trade relations and create favorable conditions for Taiwan to integrate into regional trade and economy,” an official said.

U.S. officials have repeatedly said that the beef dispute is the only hurdle hindering a resumption of the trade talks.

US to Monitor Beef Exports to Taiwan: Official

The United States will monitor Taiwan's implementation of action needed to allow the resumption of expanded U.S. beef imports after its Legislature passed a bill to lift a ban on beef imports containing the leanness-enhancing drug ractopamine, an official of the Office of the United States Trade Representative said Wednesday.

“We look forward to the quick implementation of the maximum residue level for ractopamine and the resumption of expanded access for American beef in Taiwan,” the U.S. official said

But the official declined to comment at length about any resumption of long-stalled talks under the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA), which have been hampered due to the U.S. beef dispute.

The official said only that the U.S. “will be consulting with stakeholders and with Taiwan counterparts on concrete next steps to revitalize our bilateral trade relationship.”

Taiwan's representative office has asked the U.S. to resume the talks now that the beef hurdle has been cleared.

The Legislature passed an amendment to the Act Governing Food Sanitation Wednesday Taiwan time, opening the way for imports of American beef containing ractopamine, which is currently banned in Taiwan.

The amendment allows the Taiwanese authorities to set maximum residue limits (MRLs) for beta-agonists, including ractopamine, permitted in local and imported meat and other products.

The Department of Health plans to cap the allowable level at a maximum of 10 parts per billion, the same level voted upon in early July by the Codex Alimentarius Commission, the United Nations' food safety body.

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