Department of Health Minister Yeh Ching-chuan (葉金川) said yesterday the government would soon ease restrictions on US beef.
However, any decision will be dependent on US officials, who have expressed dissatisfaction with new rules that Taipei has proposed ahead of a market reopening, Yeh said.
“I can only assure you that the new regulations will be stricter than those enforced in South Korea,” Yeh said.
South Korea restricts imports of US beef to boneless and bone-in meat, organs and other products from cows younger than 30 months.
Taiwan only allows boneless beef from cows younger than 30 months. All other parts of the animal are banned.
Yeh made the remarks while eating a US steak during a luncheon with reporters. He said that all investigations and discussions about the issue were almost complete, but US officials were not satisfied with the new rules.
“We care about whether it is safe. They [the Americans] care about whether they will 'lose face,'” Yeh said.
Yeh said that the latest communication with US officials took place on Saturday.
He said US officials were concerned that if Washington agreed to Taiwan's terms, it would have difficulty negotiating with other countries that might propose the same standards and restrictions like Taiwan.
“The ball is now in their court,” Yeh said. “But, I am quite sure that this issue will come to a conclusion very soon.”