TAIPEI: Taiwan’s restrictions on imports of pork and beef from the United States remain a major barrier to trade between the two sides, according to a recently released U.S. report that highlights significant foreign barriers to American exports.
Taiwan has not followed international standards or a bilateral protocol with the US on the issue of American meat imports, said the United States Trade Representative (USTR) report..
While the U.S. and Taiwan agreed on a protocol in 2009 to expand market access and to fully reopen the Taiwan market to all U.S. beef and beef products, Taiwan flip-flopped on the agreement and amended its Food Sanitation Act the following year to ban imports of U.S. ground beef and other beef products, the report said.
“This amendment is contrary to Taiwan’s obligations under the 2009 beef protocol,” the report said.
It called on Taiwan to open its market fully to American beef and beef products on the basis of science, the guidelines of the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), the U.S.’ negligible risk status, and the beef protocol.
The U.S. report also criticized Taiwan’s zero-tolerance policy on imports of American pork containing ractopamine, a feed additive that promotes leanness in meat-producing animals.
Taiwan should implement the proposed maximum residue limit (MRL) for ractopamine without delay, and move to accept and approve new applications for MRLs based on science, in a timely manner, the report said.
It also listed other issues that the U.S. sees as obstacles to broadening trade with Taiwan, including a ban on the use of biotechnology food ingredients and processed food with biotechnology ingredients in school meals.
Nonetheless, the report said, the U.S. has made trade progress with Taiwan in other areas such as the protection of intellectual property rights and the establishment of a tolerance level for glycoalkaloids — toxic chemical compounds commonly found in potatoes.
Commenting on the report, Taiwan’s Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) said Saturday it will work with the relevant authorities to address trade issues that are of concern to both sides.
According to the report, U.S. goods exports to Taiwan grew by an annual 17.5 percent last year to US$30.2 billion (NT$987 billion), while its imports from Taiwan increased 7.8 percent to US$45.8 billion.
Taiwan was the U.S.’ 15th largest goods export market in 2018, the report said.