Taiwan’s restrictions on imports of pork and beef from the US remain a major barrier to trade between the two countries, according to a US report that highlights significant foreign barriers to American exports.
Taiwan has not followed international standards or a bilateral protocol with Washington on the issue of US meat imports, said the US Trade Representative report, which was released on Friday.
While Taiwan and the US agreed on a protocol in 2009 to expand market access and to fully reopen the Taiwan market to all US beef and beef products, Taiwan flip-flopped on the agreement and amended the Act Governing Food Sanitation (食品衛生管理法) the following year to ban imports of US ground beef and other beef products, the report said.
“This amendment is contrary to Taiwan’s obligations under the 2009 beef protocol,” the report said.
It called on Taiwan to open its market fully to US beef and beef products on the basis of science, the guidelines of the World Organisation for Animal Health, the US’ negligible risk status and the beef protocol.
The report also criticized Taiwan’s zero-tolerance policy on imports of US pork containing ractopamine, a feed additive that promotes leanness in animals.
Taiwan should implement the proposed maximum residue limit (MRL) for ractopamine without delay, and move to accept and approve new applications for MRLs based on science, in a timely manner, the report said.
It also listed other issues that the US sees as obstacles to broadening trade with Taiwan, including a ban on the use of biotechnology food ingredients and processed food containing biotechnology ingredients in school meals.
Nonetheless, the report said that the US has made trade progress with Taiwan in other areas, such as the protection of intellectual property rights and the establishment of a tolerance level for glycoalkaloids — toxic chemical compounds commonly found in potatoes.
The Ministry of Economic Affairs said on Saturday that it would work with the authorities to address trade issues that are of concern to both sides.
According to the report, US exports to Taiwan grew by an annual 17.5 percent last year to US$30.2 billion, while its imports from Taiwan increased 7.8 percent to US$45.8 billion.
Taiwan was the US’ 15th-largest export market last year, it said.
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