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Taiwan to send team to U.S. over beef issue

Taiwan to send team to U.S. over beef issue

Taipei, Dec. 30 (CNA) President Ma Ying-jeou has instructed that a team be sent to the United States to step up communication with Washington on the legislature's latest move over U.S. beef imports, the Presidential Office spokesman said Wednesday.
Wang Yu-chi made the remarks after Ma called a meeting earlier that day in response to a proposed legislative amendment that would abrogate an agreement with the United States on beef imports.
Ma exchanged views with Vice President Vincent Siew, Premier Wu Den-yih, Vice Premier Eric Liluan Chu, National Security Council Secretary-General Su Chi, Presidential Office Secretary-General Liao Liuo-yi, KMT Secretary-General King Pu-tsung, KMT Policy Committee Director Lin Yi-shih and officials from related government agencies on how to deal with the U.S. should the amendment pass the legislature.
He said the team should leave as soon as possible on its damage-control mission, to mitigate the impact of the lawmakers' decision on Taiwan-U.S. relations, Wang said.
"The team will depart for the U.S. next week at the latest, " he added.
After the legislature goes into recess, a group comprised of legislators, scholars and representatives of civic groups and consumers will also travel to the United States to express the stance of the Taiwan people and make on-site visits to meat facilities there in an attempt to assuage the local misgivings over U.S. beef.
The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative and the U.S. Department of Agriculture issued a statement a day earlier saying that the proposed amendment will constitute the unilateral abrogation of an agreement concluded between Taiwan and the U.S. two months ago and that Taiwan should consider the impact on its reputation as a reliable trade partner and a responsible member of the international community.
Wang said Ma attaches great importance to the U.S. statement and will communicate with Washington through diplomatic channel before dispatching the team.
A Presidential Office official said the government is willing to abide by its international commitments, but added that the proposed amendment is the manifestation of public will reached through democratic procedure, and that "we hope the United States will respect the decision." Ruling and opposition party legislators reached consensus Tuesday to pass the 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.
(By Garfie Li and Lilian Wu)




Updated : 2021-04-17 20:17 GMT+08:00