Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) lawmakers yesterday protested outside the legislative chamber against the government’s decision to lift a ban on US pork containing ractopamine while a Czech delegation led by Czech Senate President Milos Vystrcil was visiting.
The protest was directed at President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) and the ruling Democratic Progressive Party, KMT caucus secretary-general Lin Yi-hua (林奕華) said, adding that the one standard the government has cited is not the only standard when it comes to the maximum safe residue level of ractopamine in pork and beef.
Lin was referring to the Codex Alimentarius Commission’s safety limit of 10 parts per billion in pork and beef, which officials have said would be used as a reference when setting local residue limits.
Photo: Liu Hsin-de, Taipei Times
Not only has the EU banned the use of ractopamine, it has also adopted a “zero tolerance” policy on ractopamine residue in imported meat products, she said.
If the EU can do it, Taiwan can do it too, she said, adding that as the nation welcomes the Czech delegation, the KMT hopes that the same standards used in the Czech Republic would be applied to the protection of Taiwanese’s health.
Separately yesterday, Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) was asked at an event in Taipei about several local governments saying that they would ban the sale of pork containing ractopamine.
The decision to ease restrictions on pork imports was based on scientific evidence and international standards, so he hopes that local governments can work in synergy with the central government in safeguarding public health and the local hog industry while bringing the nation in line with the international community, Su said.
Asked if the central government would reimburse pig farmers if they suffer losses because of the eased restrictions, Su said that the central government has allocated NT$10 billion (US$338.74 million) for subsidies to ensure that the hog industry is safe.
The fund would partially be used to upgrade facilities used by pig farmers and improve the industry as a whole, he said.
Some pig farmers have said that they would take to the streets to protest the easing of the import ban.
Su said that Taiwanese still prefer locally produced pork, which accounts for 91 percent of total pork sales, and people’s eating habits would not change with the lifting of the ban.
The World Organisation for Animal Health in June declared Taiwan free of foot-and-mouth disease, which is expected to greatly help the nation’s pork exports, he said.
Asked about the prospects of Taiwan signing a bilateral trade agreement with the US after the lifting of the import ban, the premier said the US had during negotiations asked the nation to lift the ban to remove the trade obstacle.
He compared Taiwan’s import ban with “fighting with one hand tied behind one’s back.”
It is to the US’ great delight that the nation has lifted the ban, so he believes that this would greatly benefit the nation in negotiations over its inclusion in international trade agreements, such as the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, whose member states mostly allow the importation of US meat products, he said.
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