The American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday denied that the AIT was “menacing” Taiwan, as the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) put it, by tying a resumption of trade talks under the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) to the US beef issue.
Whether Taiwan would allow imports of US beef containing residues of the leanness-enhancing animal feed additive ractopamine was an issue affecting relations between Taiwan and the US, AIT spokesperson Christopher Kavanagh said.
“To say that we are threatening [Taiwan], I think, no, clearly no,” Kavanagh said.
Photo: Chu Pei-hsiung, Taipei Times
Kavanagh also denied the DPP’s claims about an exchange of interests between Washington and Taipei in which the US nominated Taiwan as a candidate for its visa-waiver program three weeks before the January presidential election, according to the DPP, to boost President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) re-election chance in return for the Ma administration’s promise to lift the import ban.
“No, there is absolutely no relation between visa waiver and beef. Visa waiver is governed under US laws and a country has to meet requirements of the laws to move forward in the process. It has nothing to do with beef, absolutely nothing,” he said.
“But beef, we can say that it has been a stumbling block in our trade agenda with Taiwan. Beef was the only factor which thwarted our efforts to resume our TIFA talks in 2010 and in 2011 ... We hope to resume TIFA talks as soon as possible,” Kavanagh added.
Initiated by the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), several party lawmakers met with AIT Director William Stanton on Tuesday to get a better idea of how lifting the ban would benefit the country in the advancement of bilateral relations.
The lawmakers told the press that the US would resume TIFA talks once the beef issue is resolved and a resolution of the issue would facilitate Taiwan’s inclusion in the US’ visa-waiver program and participation in a regional trade bloc.
At a meeting of the legislature’s Foreign and National Defense Committee yesterday, DPP Legislator Tsai Huang-liang (蔡煌瑯) lambasted the US for what he said was Washington’s blatant intimidation by stalling the TIFA talks while the beef issue remains unresolved.
DPP Legislator Hsiao Bi-khim (蕭美琴) suspected a “backroom deal” between the Ma administration and the US as she said the government was “offering up the public’s health as a sacrifice” in exchange for progress on issues such as the visa waiver and TIFA negotiations.
In response, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Tung Kuo-yu (董國猷) said the US did not pressure Taiwan to begin importing US beef containing residues of ractopamine and reiterated that the Ma administration has not made any promises to the US on the beef issue.
Food delivery provider Foodpanda had 564 consumer disputes from January to last month and failed to attend many mediation sessions with local governments nationwide, the Executive Yuan’s Consumer Protection Committee said. In a news release earlier this month, the committee said that it investigated consumer complaints and mediations for Foodpanda and rival Uber Eats during the period, when the number of delivery orders jumped due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Uber Eats had 80 consumer disputes, the committee said. Of Foodpanda’s consumer disputes, 368 resulted from delivery drivers canceling orders after customers could not be reached, 108 were related to the quality or quantity
‘HONEYMOON’ IS OVER: A political science professor said that the Tsai administration’s popularity peaked after it successfully contained COVID-19, but is waning President Tsai Ing-wen’s (蔡英文) and Premier Su Tseng-chang’s (蘇貞昌) approval ratings fell significantly this month in the wake of the government’s handling of the distribution of relief funds and stimulus coupons to people and businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, a poll released yesterday by the New Power Party (NPP) showed. The poll showed that 68 percent of respondents said they were satisfied with Tsai’s performance, down 8.9 percentage points from last month, while 21 percent said they disapproved of her performance. Her approval among respondents aged 20 to 29 fell 14.7 percentage points, the largest decrease when compared with other age
‘CHINESE CAPITAL’: Fanny Liu was found guilty of reducing the rent of a tenant in exchange for a vote for a KMT Taipei city councilor candidate The Taipei District Court on Wednesday sentenced Fanny Liu (劉樂妍), a former member of the now-disbanded female pop group Fantasy 4, to 10 years in prison for vote-buying. The court found Liu — who is now based in China and has made pro-Chinese Communist Party remarks — guilty of reducing the rent on a Taipei property she owned in exchange for the tenant voting for a Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) candidate in the November 2018 nine-in-one local elections. She can appeal the ruling. Liu in December 2018 reportedly lowered the rent by NT$1,000 after the tenant said they had voted for Taipei City
Passengers arriving at Taoyuan International Airport will find that most entrances to both terminals have been sealed off as part of its COVID-19 prevention efforts. Follow the signs and directions posted on the doors to find the nearest entry point. The airport has installed infrared cameras and thermometer guns at all open entrances, and all persons with a temperature of over 37.5 degrees Celsius are prohibited from entering the terminal. In addition, staff will take the temperature of those checking in to their flights in advance at Airport MRT stations A1 and A3. In accordance with the Centers of Disease