Sat, Jun 30, 2012 - Page 3 News List

No promise made to the US on beef, MOFA says

NO TIMEFRAME:The ministry denied the claims by a US senator and said that it had been ‘determined and responsible’ and that the issue would be resolved soon

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  Staff reporter

The government “has never made any promises” on a timetable to relax its ban on imports of beef containing ractopamine residue to any US officials, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said in a statement yesterday.

A report by International Community Radio Taipei (ICRT) earlier this week said US Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa had the word of President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) administration that Taiwan would relax the ban after winning re-election on Jan. 14.

ICRT Washington correspondent Matt Kaye reported that the senator was told by Taipei one year ago: “Well, just be quiet, when we get a president ... a presidential election over ... we’ll solve this problem.”

“And the presidential election’s over, and we’re still getting the same comments about how hard it is to do,” Grassley was quoted by the ICRT report as saying, adding that Grassley told ICRT that he wanted Ma to keep his word and that the promise was made through Taiwanese Representative to the US Jason Yuan (袁健生).

In response, the ministry said yesterday that the government “has been determined and has taken a responsible attitude” toward resolving the issue, but has never promised a timeframe throughout its discussions with the US on this issue.

Taipei wished that friends of Taiwan from various circles in the US, including US lawmakers, could understand the approach the government has taken to resolve the ractopamine issue, the ministry said.

The Ma administration has called for a provisional legislative session to get consent from the legislature to lift the ban after the legislature ended its first session two weeks ago without passing the amendment to the Act Governing Food Sanitation (食品衛生管理法). An extra session could be held from July 24 to July 27.

The ministry said the issue could be resolved soon.

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