Tue, Jun 12, 2012 - Page 3 News List

Majority oppose US beef imports deal: poll

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

More than 60 percent of the public does not accept easing the ban on imports of US meat products containing the livestock feed additive ractopamine as a prerequisite to resuming trade negotiations between Taiwan and the US, a public opinion survey found.

According to the poll results released by Taiwan Indicators Research Survey (TIRS) yesterday, 63.4 percent of respondents disagreed with the government’s claim that easing the ban on US beef imports was necessary for the resumption of Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) negotiations with the US.

The survey, conducted between Wednesday and Thursday last week found that only 26.5 percent of respondents said they accepted the precondition.

However, 67.3 percent of respondents said it was necessary for Taiwan to seek trade agreements with foreign countries, while only 18 percent disagreed.

Under pressure from President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), who also serves as Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) chairman, to amend the law to ease the ban, KMT lawmakers could find themselves facing a dilemma as the survey showed that 47.8 percent of the party’s supporters did not support using US beef as a trade-off for TIFA talks, while 45.4 percent said they did.

The pressure on KMT -lawmakers appears to be mounting as 46.8 percent of the respondents said they support recalling legislators who favor relaxing the ban compared with 39.4 percent who did not support a recall.

TIRS said a further a breakdown of the results showed that 51 percent of respondents who live south of Yunlin County were in favor of a recall, as were more than 30 percent of pro-KMT respondents.

A regular survey on Ma and Premier Sean Chen’s (陳冲) approval ratings found that both men are still struggling to regain popularity, with Ma’s approval rating at 22.7 and Chen’s a dismal 18.4 percent.

Both ratings were down from the May 23 Taiwan Mood Barometer Survey, a bimonthly poll which covers a range of economic and political issues.

The TIRS poll collected 1,006 samples and had a margin of error of 3.1 percentage points.

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