November 15, 2008
Taiwan to maintain import restrictions on US beef
Existing restrictions on US beef imports will stay, despite a recent US call for Taiwan to fully open its market.
Taiwan's Department of Health Minister Yeh Ching-chuan said the department has no plans to review the restrictions, which bar imports of all US beef products except for boneless beef from cattle under 30 months old.
The annual US-Taiwan Trade and Investment Framework Agreements (TIFA) talks have also been postponed due to the US beef issue.
Washington has told Taiwan that US beef is the top priority among all US-Taiwan issues, said Michael Hsu Peiyung, deputy director-general of the MOFA's Department of North American Affairs.
Stephen Young, director of the American Institute in Taiwan, assured that US beef is safe and urged Taiwan to make a "science-based decision".
In addition, Yeh also ensured that the department's proposed revision on veterinary drug residue standards, which would set a maximum level of ractopamine residue in pork, is aimed at opening Taiwan's market to ractopamine-tainted US pork.
The ractopamine residue standard in livestock is proposed because Taiwan lacks such a standard, Yeh said.
Ractopamine is a drug used to improve weight gain, carcass leanness and feed efficiency in animals.