A new agricultural division is to be established at the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office (TECRO) in Washington to “meet practical needs,” but it has nothing to do with importing US pork and beef, government officials said yesterday.
Taiwan has restrictions on imports of US pork and beef, as the US allows the use of ractopamine, a feed additive that promotes leanness in animals, which remains a thorn in bilateral relations.
The Executive Yuan on Oct. 30 approved a plan to establish the division, which is expected to begin operations in January, the Chinese-language United Daily News reported yesterday.
The Council of Agriculture is still deliberating with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs over whether the new division should be located inside the representative office or if another space should be rented, council Deputy Minister Chen Junne-jih (陳駿季) was quoted as saying in the report.
The new division is a result of expanding Taiwan-US collaboration in the field of agriculture, the council said later yesterday in a statement, rejecting media reports that it aims to satisfy the US’ demand that certain products be exported to Taiwan.
It would be the first agricultural division “formally” established at Taiwan’s representative offices, although the council has sent agriculture-related officials to Eswatini, Honduras, Indonesia, Japan, Mauritius and Thailand, Department of International Affairs Deputy Director-General Lin Chih-hung (林志鴻) told the Taipei Times.
Two council officials have been working at the TECRO for a long time, and would be given new titles after the division is established, he said.
Promoting Taiwan-US cooperation in quarantine techniques and agricultural technology are among their missions, he said, adding that boosting bilateral trade in agriculture is just part of their job.
Considering bilateral trade has become increasingly intensive, the TECRO decides to establish a new division to “meet practical needs,” ministry spokeswoman Joanne Ou (歐江安) said.
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