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Talk of the Day -- News digest of local media -- Beef controversy

Talk of the Day -- News digest of local media -- Beef controversy

Legislators from across the political spectrum reached a consensus Tuesday to pass a proposed amendment to the Act Governing Food Sanitation that would ban imports of "risky" beef products from areas where cases of mad cow disease have been documented over the past decade.
The United States' representative office in Taipei immediately voiced its concern over the move, while the Presidential Office vowed to step up communications with U.S. authorities on the issue to minimize possible fallout.
The following is a digest of some local media reports on the issue: China Times: Reacting to the legislative consensus to resume a ban on certain U.S. beef imports amid public concern over mad cow disease, Presidential Office spokesman Wang Yu-chi said President Ma Ying-jeou respects the Legislative Yuan's decision.
The ban's resumption contravenes a Taiwan-U.S. protocol that lifted a previous ban on bone-in beef imports from the United States, and Wang said the government will do its best to communicate with the U.S. on the issue.
Currently, the top priority is to do something to minimize the possible damage to Taiwan-U.S. relations, Wang said.
Governmental officials admitted that Taiwan has obviously violated the Taiwn-U.S. beef protocol and World Trade Organization (WTO) common practices. For now, Taiwan can only try to seek the U.S.' understanding, they said.
Next, they added, the two sides need to reopen negotiations on the issue, but whether or not to restart the talks depends on what the U.S. decides.
Meanwhile, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) officials have refused to talk about what the ministry will do to mend Taiwan-U.S.
relations after the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) -- the de facto U.S. embassy in Taiwan -- expressed disappointment with the legislature's decision. The MOFA will state its position on the issue after the Legislative Yuan votes on the consensus on Jan. 5, the officials said.
Some officials at the MOFA, however, expressed dismay over the legislature's decision, saying the ministry was not involved in the legislature's inter-party negotiations on the issue but did present a risk assessment on its possible impact on Taiwan-U.S. ties. (Dec. 30, 2009) United Daily News: A government official who participated in talks on trade and economic issues for more than 20 years described the legislative decision to resume the ban on certain U.S. beef products as a "major trade and economic crisis." The official stated that the decision violated WTO obligations and common international negotiation practices, badly damaging Taiwan's image and credibility. Taiwan will have trouble in conducting talks on trade and economic issues with other countries in the future, he said. (Dec. 30, 2009) Liberty Times: U.S. officials, who expressed dismay over the legislature's decision to block controversial U.S. beef products from entering Taiwan, pinpointed Taiwan's National Security Council Secretary General Su Chi on Tuesday as the person who should be held responsible for the result.
They complained that Su rejected their suggestion when the protocol was signed in October to wait until after Taiwan's local elections on Dec. 5 to make it public, to avoid resistance.
Meanwhile, the opposition Democratic Progressive Party demanded that Su step down from his post. (Dec. 30, 2009) (By Elizabeth Hsu)




Updated : 2021-05-12 05:21 GMT+08:00