Premier-designate Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) yesterday said the government’s policy on US pork imports remains unchanged.
Vice Premier Jiang, who will soon take the helm of the Cabinet, quoted Premier Sean Chen (陳冲) as saying recently that the government will not change its policy of handling pork and beef imports separately.
At the time, Chen was responding to questions about whether the government will compromise on its stance if the US pressures Taiwan to allow imports of US pork products containing the leanness-enhancing drug ractopamine.
Asked the same question yesterday, Jiang said that since he has yet to succeed Chen, he is not in a position to discuss the issue in detail, but added that there would be no change in the stance outlined by Chen.
A day earlier, Council of Agriculture Minister Chen Bao-ji (陳保基) said that the government would not open its doors to imports of pork containing ractopamine residue, nor will it agree to put the issue on the agenda of upcoming trade talks between Taiwan and the US set to be held by the end of next month.
The government set forth its policy of separating the conditions for beef and pork imports last year when it opened the Taiwanese market to US beef products containing certain levels of ractopamine residue.
However, recent remarks by American Institute of Taiwan Chairman Raymond Burghardt triggered concerns that the US might want to bring up the pork issue during talks under the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA), which have been suspended since 2007 due to the controversy over US beef imports.
In a press conference in Taipei on Friday, Burghardt said that US pork producers would not export pork containing ractopamine to Taiwan as long as the country prohibits such products.
However, he said that “we [the US] have the permanent position” that food policy and regulations should follow international standards and scientific rules.
The safety standards used to set maximum residue levels for ractopamine that have been adopted by the Codex Alimentarius Commission “are not specifically about beef,” he said.
Taiwan maintains a zero tolerance policy on ractopamine in pork imports.