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DPP urges U.S. to respect Taiwan people's will on beef imports

DPP urges U.S. to respect Taiwan people's will on beef imports

Taiwan's opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) expressed its hope yesterday that the United States will understand and respect the desire of Taiwan's people not to accept controversial beef imports from the U.S.
DPP spokesman Tsai Chi-chang said Taiwan's people have spelled out their demand to the government to prohibit the import of potentially hazardous U.S. beef products, referring to a consensus reached between the ruling and opposition parties to resume a ban on various U.S. beef imports.
On Tuesday, the DDP legislative caucus accepted a revised motion by the ruling Kuomintang (KMT) to write into law that hazardous substances, including cattle skulls, brains, eyes, spinal cords, and intestines, as well as 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 entering Taiwan.
The revision to the Act Governing Food Sanitation, however, sparked fears among officials who participated in negotiations with the U.S. on the beef issue that Taipei-Washington relations could be affected.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Trade Representative office issued a joint statement saying the proposed amendment "would constitute a unilateral abrogation of a bilateral agreement."
Tsai argued that there would be no "U.S. beef import protocol" if the government had not promoted the agreement in secret, a practice showing its lack of respect for the people's will.
Consequently, there would have been no possibility of U.S. retaliation, Tsai added, blaming National Security Council Secretary-General Su Chi, who was allegedly responsible for the negotiations, for the dispute.
Tsai also pointed out that a video conference held by the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) - the U.S.' de facto embassy in Taiwan - had failed to convince Taiwan's people that the high-risk beef parts are safe for consumption.
Meanwhile, DPP legislative caucus head Wang Sing-nan said President Ma Ying-jeou should apologize for his administration's hasty decision to lift the ban on U.S. bone-in beef and that Su should step down to shoulder responsibility.
KMT caucus whip Lu Hsueh-chang called on the U.S. government to respect the legislature's decision and said the caucus would ask related agencies to explain the decision to their American counterparts at an appropriate time.
Lu contended that the amendment in fact would not be very restrictive, blocking only 1-to-2-percent of U.S. beef and related products from entering Taiwan, while still allowing the U.S. to ship 98 percent of its beef products to Taiwan.
Although the administration made mistakes in forging the Taiwan-U.S. protocol, it is now not too late to amend the flaws, Lu argued. He also recognized the president's respect for the Legislative Yuan's decision, describing it as respect for democratic politics.
Meanwhile, the chairman of the nonprofit Consumers' Foundation, Hsieh Tien-jen, urged people to take part in a public hearing, to be held later Wednesday, on the foundation's proposed referendum on U.S. beef imports.


Updated : 2020-11-30 14:08 GMT+08:00