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Taiwan rep. to U.S. comments on beef issue impact

Taiwan rep. to U.S. comments on beef issue impact

Washington, Dec. 30 (CNA) Taiwan's Representative to the United States Jason C. Yuan said Tuesday that Taiwan should assess the consequences of abrogating some of the content of an agreement with the U.S. on beef imports, which will directly impact efforts to promote good relations.
Upon hearing the news that a consensus was reached by Taiwan's legislature on a proposed amendment to the Act Governing Food Sanitation regarding beef imports from the U.S., Yuan commented that relations between Taiwan and the U.S. over the past 18 months have turned for the better mainly because of the building of mutual trust.
Should the amendment, which would overturn parts of the agreement, pass the legislature, the consequences would not be hard to imagine, he added.
In late October, Taiwan and the U.S. signed the "Protocol of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) -Related Measures for the Importation of Beef and Beef Products for Human Consumption from the Territory of the Authorities Represented by the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT)." The deal obliged Taiwan to lift a partial ban it had previously opposed on U.S. bone-in beef, but the legislature's measure would reimpose parts of the partial ban.
Yuan suggested that it would not be possible to seek understanding from the U.S. using "domestic affairs" as a justification because the U.S. treats Taiwan as a single entity.
Confirming the concern of related U.S. authorities, Yuan said that he had received phone calls from U.S. officials at the deputy secretary level, even during the Christmas holidays.
If the legislation ends up overturning an agreement reached through negotiations, it could be very serious and definitely will affect anticipated negotiations on a Taiwan-U.S. trade and investment framework agreement (TIFA), according to Yuan.
As to the possible impact on the representative office's planning for President Ma's transit visit to the U.S. on his way to attending the presidential inauguration in Honduras in late January, Yuan said he has yet to receive instructions from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on making such arrangements.
Meanwhile, Deputy U.S. Trade Representative Demetrios Maratis and Undersecretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services Jim Miller issued a joint statement on the issue, expressing deep concern and disappointment on the matter.
"The proposed amendment's provisions do not have a basis in science or fact, " the statement read. "If passed, this amendment would represent a new barrier to U.S. beef exports to Taiwan, and would constitute a unilateral abrogation of a bilateral agreement." The two U.S. officials also advised that "the Taiwan authorities should consider very carefully the impact that passage of the amendment in its current form would have on Taiwan's reputation as a reliable trading partner and responsible member of the international community." After several rounds of confrontation, Taiwan's legislators across party lines reached a consensus Tuesday to write into law that hazardous substances, including cattle skulls, brains, eyes, spinal cords, and intestines, and ground beef and other related beef products from areas in which mad cow disease has been reported in the past 10 years are banned from being imported.
(By Jorge Liu and Lillian Lin)




Updated : 2020-12-03 19:42 GMT+08:00