Tue, Jan 16, 2007 - Page 3 News List

President upbeat about lifting Canadian beef ban

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Department of Health is planning to visit Canada at the end of the month to evaluate the possibility of lifting the ban on Canadian beef, President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) said yesterday.

Chen, who hosted a delegation of Canadian parliamentarians and their families at the Presidential Office yesterday, told his guests that Department of Health Minister Hou Sheng-mao (侯勝茂) was scheduled to lead a delegation of experts to inspect Canadian beef quarantine and sanitary procedures at the end of the month.

The information obtained would serve as a reference to the department's evaluation of whether to reopen the local market to Canadian beef. Several Asian markets, including China, Japan and Taiwan, banned Canadian beef following a case of mad cow disease in Canada in May 2003.

Taiwan was the fifth-largest market for Canadian beef and the exports were worth C$20 million (NT$580 million) each year.

As Taiwan is Canada's seventh-largest source of tourists, Chen yesterday called on the Canadian government to offer visa-free travel to Taiwanese visitors.

Statistics show that an average of 100,000 Taiwanese tourists visit Canada each year. In addition, there are 15,000 Taiwanese students studying in Canada, a number that is growing by about 2,500 students per year.

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