Thu, Jul 26, 2012 - Page 1 News List

Legislature votes to allow ractopamine

BEEF IMPORT ISSUE:The vote was split along party lines, with KMT legislators voting for the amendment, while DPP, PFP and TSU lawmakers voted against it

By Chris Wang, Shih Hsiu-chuan and Mo Yan-chih  /  Staff reporters

The resumption of the TIFA talks would prepare the terrain for negotiations on free-trade agreements (FTA) or other economic pacts with the nation’s major trading partners, Ma said.

Ma said the government would establish a food labeling system that allows consumers to identify US beef products and to make their own choice, while excluding the import of US beef organ parts.

The government would impose a ban on US beef products immediately if any scientific evidence proved that ractopamine is harmful to human health, he said.

Ma thanked Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) and KMT legislators for helping to pass the bill.

“The approval of the bill is a great achievement of the close cooperation of the legislative and executive branches under the KMT’s party-state mechanism,” he said.

Meanwhile, retiring American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) Director William Stanton said the result was “personally gratifying to me” because he has “dedicated a great deal of effort to see that the Taiwan[ese] market is open to US beef” during his three-year tenure.

“I cannot think of a better conclusion to my tour as director than to have this issue resolved in a positive way,” said Stanton, who is taking a teaching job at the Taipei American School after he retires from a 34-year diplomatic career next month.

Stanton said he “look[ed] forward to enjoying delicious US beef dinners with my many Taiwan[ese] friends in the excellent restaurants here in Taiwan.”

“Today is a good day for Taiwan[ese] consumers, the Taiwan[ese] democratic process, free trade and for US-Taiwan relations,” Stanton said as he thanked the Ma administration, the legislature, academics, businesspeople and the media, who he said “fought to have this issue decided on the basis of international, science-based standards.”

The AIT also issued a short a statement.

“The US welcomes the vote and looks forward to the quick implementation of the maximum residue level for ractopamine and the resumption of expanded access for US beef in the Taiwan[ese] market,” the AIT statement said. “We also look forward to resuming efforts to expand our vital bilateral trade and investment ties that benefit us both.”

AIT spokesperson Sheila Paskman said the institute could not answer how yesterday’s vote would impact on the resumption of the TIFA talks.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Steve Hsia (夏季昌) said the ministry hopes the talks would resume by the end of this year or early next year.

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