Taiwan says no to pork; US to try again
By Enru Lin ,The China PostTAIPEI, Taiwan -- The Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) denied a request to approve ractopamine-containing pork imports during yesterday's bilateral trade talks with the United States, which said it will broach the topic again.
March 11, 2013, 12:10 am TWN
The seventh round of Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) talks opened yesterday in Taipei after a six-year hiatus.
During the talks, U.S. negotiators pressured Taiwan to rethink its ban on pork imports containing ractopamine, a leanness-enhancing feed additive.
Deputy U.S. Trade Representative Demetrios Marantis, who headed an interagency U.S. delegation, “underscored his request that Taiwan's food safety measures — including those relating to meat exports — are based on science and consistent with international standards,” according to a statement released by the Office of the United States Trade Representative after the talks.
The MOEA turned down the request, saying that Taiwan will continue to “separate permits for importing beef and pork.”
Last year, the Cabinet removed a ban on U.S. beef containing ractopamine, after assuring the public that Taiwan's pork ban won't also be removed by default.
“During the (TIFA) talks, we repeated our 16-character principles — in particular, our policy on separating rules for beef and pork imports. We explained that to them,” said Vice Economics Minister Cho Shih-chao (卓士昭) after the meeting
In response to the renewed opposition, Marantis said the U.S. will continue to request that Taiwan accept scientific food safety regulations for meat exports.
“This is a long-standing issue of concern,” Marantis told a pressroom. “We raised it today. We will continue to raise the issue of ensuring that food safety regulations are based on science and consistent with international standards.”
Also yesterday, Taiwan and the U.S. struck consensus on international investment principles, as well as tenets for information and communication technology (ICT) trade.
In a joint statement on ICT trade, the two sides agreed to enhance domestic regulatory capacity and to help expand ICT networks in the global domain.
A second joint statement on investment said both economies are committed to open and non-discriminatory investment climates.
Other principles include legal certainty and protection, access to effective dispute settlement procedures and transparency in the development of domestic laws related to investment, according to the joint Statement on Principles for International Investment.
These principles lay the groundwork for a possible U.S.-Taiwan investment protection agreement, the statement continued.
During the talks, Taiwan and the U.S. also established longer-term working groups to resolve issues with bilateral investment and technical barriers to trade.
How the groups resolve issues may determine when the next TIFA talks pick up.
“The idea, I think, is to have as much engagement as possible,” said Marantis.
The delegate said annual talks under TIFA are the target, but that the U.S. will see how things go at the working group level.
Marantis returns to Washington today, while select U.S. delegates remain for follow-up talks scheduled for early this week.