Tue, Jun 19, 2012 - Page 13 News List

AmCham pushes for passage of bill on beef imports

By Crystal Hsu  /  Staff reporter

Taiwan has to show goodwill and reliability by easing restrictions on imports of US beef before trade talks could resume or for government-to-government economic ties to gain headway, the American Chamber of Commerce in Taipei (AmCham) said yesterday after a visit by a delegation to Washington.

“That was the universal opinion of everyone we talked to in the US executive branch, Congressional offices and think tanks over the course of five days of intensive meetings,” AmCham chairman Bill Wiseman said in a statement.

The statement came ahead of the legislature’s special session tomorrow to discuss the Cabinet’s proposal to allow imports of US beef containing the livestock feed additive ractopamine.

The beef issue is essential for Taiwan and the US to resume Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) talks or to make any other significant progress in US-Taiwan economic relations, Wiseman said, adding that the 15-member AmCham delegation held 46 meetings during the trip to Washington.

The delegation found much interest in Washington to move forward with the trade relationship, but only if Taiwan can show some goodwill on the beef issue and thereby demonstrate its reliability as a trading partner, Wiseman said.

The trade group said Taipei should base its trade decisions on “scientific evidence” and warned that “failure to act will further aggravate the bilateral relationship.”

AmCham has more than 900 members representing more than 500 companies.

“The Taiwan government should adopt measures without further delay to remove the primary hurdle blocking improvement in US-Taiwan relations and enable the two sides to move on to discuss potential new areas of economic cooperation,” Wiseman said.

Opposition lawmakers have vowed to boycott the bill again after paralyzing the final week of the just-concluded legislative session last week.

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