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President denies trade deal behind expansion of U.S. beef imports

Taipei City Government initiated a program October 27 to identify US beef products in view of the central government’s decision to allow imports of US...

Taipei response to US pressure on beef imports

Taipei City Government initiated a program October 27 to identify US beef products in view of the central government’s decision to allow imports of US...

President Ma Ying-jeou said yesterday that the government's decision to lift a ban on imports of U.S. bone-in beef products is not linked to any broader trade deal, and gave the assurance that his administration would not sacrifice people's health for economic benefits.
In an interview with a local weekly, The Journalist, Ma said that the lifting of the ban on U.S. beef represented the removal of a major barrier between Taiwan and the United States.
He denied allegations that the government decided to lift the restrictions in exchange for the resumption of U.S.-Taiwan Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) talks.
Asked about the rationale behind the decision, Ma said that as a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), Taiwan cannot disregard other members' requests for reciprocity.
He stressed that the restrictions were lifted after taking into account the health and safety of the Taiwan people. Taiwan still maintains stricter standards for U.S beef imports than South Korea, he noted.
Ma said the easing of the restrictions on U.S. beef imports is expected to help boost relations between Taiwan and the United States.
"Our greatly improved relations with China have raised concerns that our policy is particularly favorable to China, but this time, we have removed a major barrier between Taiwan and the U.S," he said.
"The relaxation of the import restrictions on U.S. beef products does not mean that the government is obliged to promote the products," the president added.
He also said that if Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin opts to adopt stricter measures in the city regarding U.S. beef imports, that would be his choice.
"However, I guarantee there would be no problem if he eats U.S. beef products," Ma said.
Moreover, he noted, a health insurance measure will be introduced to help allay pubic fears.
"We have never said there is zero risk involved in easing the ban, but the level of risk is acceptable from a professional standpoint," Ma said.


Updated : 2021-08-01 02:25 GMT+08:00