Ma cites Jiang, reassures public over pork fears
By Enru Lin ,The China PostTAIPEI, Taiwan -- The public has Premier Jiang Yi-huah's (江宜樺) word that the central government will not loosen restrictions on U.S. pork, said the president yesterday.
February 28, 2013, 12:01 am TWN
Earlier yesterday, Democratic Progressive Party lawmaker Lee Ying-yuan (李應元) called on the president to commit to the ban on pork imports containing ractopamine, ahead of a round of important trade talks between Taiwan and the United States in March. If President Ma Ying-jeou does not commit to the ban, he is forcing the people to take to the streets, said Lee at the Legislative Yuan yesterday.
The premier has already given his word to maintain the ban, Ma said at the Kuomintang's (KMT) main headquarters Wednesday afternoon.
“A few days ago during an executive-legislative meeting, the premier said he will abide by predecessor Sean Chen's pledge that pork will not enter during his tenure,” Ma told the KMT Central Standing Committee and local media.
“Jiang even said he is willing to resign if he cannot fulfill his promise. These words are resolute and decisive, and I hope we can all be assured,” Ma continued.
On Monday, Jiang had quoted Chen's statement, “U.S. pork (containing ractopamine) will definitely not be imported while I am serving as premier.” “This statement applies to me as well” said Jiang.
Ma was presiding yesterday at the KMT Central Standing Committee in the capacity of party chairman. At the party's invitation, the Council of Agriculture (COA, 農委會) delivered a report on upcoming agricultural policy.
COA Minister Chen Bao-ji (陳保基) said there are no plans to alter the standing policy that pork and beef import restrictions are treated separately.
“It is regretful that there are rumors of otherwise,” he said.
NT$7,000 Benefit Stays: COA
Also yesterday, Chen renewed the council's vow to keep the Old-Age Farmers Welfare Allowance Program, which provides a NT$7,000 monthly benefit for insured farmers and fishermen aged 65 or older.
The benefits cut remains only “a suggestion from the Academia Sinica,” said Chen. “At present the COA has no intention of ending the benefits, so please rest assured.”
Ma lauded Chen's vision, saying he “very much approves” of the COA's future policies.
“Although Taiwan's agricultural output is not high, the nation's food safety, ecological conservation and the livelihoods of farmers take on a critical meaning,” said Ma.