Thu, Feb 28, 2013 - Page 3 News List

President seeks to ease concerns over imports of US pork

By Mo Yan-chih  /  Staff reporter

President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday offered assurances that his administration would not lift the ban on US pork imports containing the feed additive ractopamine.

“Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) pledged on Monday to keep the ban on US pork containing the controversial feed additive during his term, and the public should not worry about the issue as the government has made the promise,” he said at a meeting of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Central Standing Committee.

The committee yesterday invited Council of Agriculture Minister Chen Bao-chi (陳保基) to present a report on the implementation of agricultural policies. Chen dismissed rumors that the government would succumb to pressure and allow the import of US pork to facilitate the resumption of trade talks with the US under the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) platform.

“The government stands firm on banning the import of US pork, and we regret that many people have spread rumors about the issue and caused public concern in such an inappropriate way,” he said.

To remove what the US viewed as a barrier to resuming the TIFA talks, the Ma administration lifted a ban on US beef containing a permissible level of ractopamine residues last year.

While the government insisted that the ban on pork from pigs fed ractopamine should remain, the US has called for an opening up of the Taiwanese market.

Chen yesterday also dismissed rumors that the government planned to cancel monthly subsidies for elderly farmers. The rumors emerged after a report from Academia Sinica suggested that the subsidy should be canceled.

The government will continue the subsidy policy, Chen said.

“The monthly subsidy for elderly farmers is a government policy, and we have no plans to cancel it. People should not spread rumors and cause unnecessary fear among farmers,” he said.

The monthly subsidy for farmers is NT$6,316, having been increased from NT$6,000 in 2011.

The government will adjust the subsidy every four years in accordance with changes in the consumer price index.

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