Sun, May 07, 2006 - Page 1 News List

Taiwan to double quota for beef from Paraguay

CNA , ASUNCION AND TAIPEI

The nation will double its annual quota on Paraguayan beef imports from 200 tonnes to 400 tonnes starting this year, President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) announced on Friday during his visit to the South American nation.

Giving a speech to Paraguay's parliament, Chen said he personally enjoyed Paraguayan beef because of the meat's excellent texture.

"Paraguayan beef tastes very good. I myself like to eat Paraguayan beef. So we will double our annual quota for the import of Paraguayan beef," Chen said.

Chen noted that Paraguay was determined to be free of foot-and-mouth disease last October and that Paraguayan experts have recently negotiated with Taiwan's government for the possibility of upping the quota on beef imports.

Doubling the quota this year will help improve bilateral ties, Chen said.

In Taipei, Taiwan Solidarity Union Legislator Lai Shin-yuan (賴幸媛) expressed support for the plan. Lai, who has been an outspoken critic of the government's policy on importing US beef, noted that Paraguay is free of foot-and-mouth disease and unaffected by mad cow disease.

"As long as it is not a country affected by mad cow disease, [its beef] will be better and safer than US beef," she said.

Doubling imports from Paraguay is also a good thing because that country is a diplomatic ally of Taiwan, she added.

Taiwan banned beef imports from the US in December 2003 after the discovery of a single case of mad cow disease in Washington state.

In April last year, Taiwan lifted an import ban on US boneless beef from animals under 30 months of age, but again suspended US beef imports on June 25 after a second case of mad cow disease was confirmed in the US earlier that month.

That second ban was lifted on Jan. 25.

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