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Talk of the Day -- News digest of local media -- Damage control

Talk of the Day -- News digest of local media -- Damage control

Taiwan's government has stepped up fence-mending efforts after a Legislative Yuan consensus to restrict U.S. beef imports drew a strong protest from the United States on Wednesday. Both the administration and the private sector plan to organize delegations to visit Washington, D.C. and drive home their stances.
The following is a digest of some local media reports on the issue: China Times: President Ma Ying-jeou ordered Wednesday that a team be sent to the United States to communicate with Washington after the legislature on Tuesday agreed to amend the Act Governing Food Sanitation in a way that would ban imports of "risky" beef products from areas where cases of mad cow disease have been documented over the past decade.
The U.S. representative office in Taipei immediately voiced its concern Tuesday over the planned legislation, because it contravenes a Taiwan-U.S. protocol signed in October that lifted a previous ban on bone-in beef imports from the United States.
Ma's men will be visiting Washington aimed at minimizing the impact of the beef controversy on U.S.-Taiwan relations.
Washington has expressed its concern over the beef issue on three occasions since November and many believe that if Washington takes any retaliatory moves against Taiwan, it would likely be a new freeze on the resumption of talks under the Taiwan-U.S. trade and investment framework agreement (TIFA).
Washington could also retaliate by shelving plans to have ministerial-level U.S. officials visit Taiwan. (Dec. 31, 2009) Liberty Times: High-ranking officials, including President Ma, have perceived that the situation has gone beyond salvation as the Legislature is set to have the new ban consensus passed into law next week.
Ma agreed that things would have turned out much better if relevant government agencies had communicated more closely with the Legislature before Taiwan signed the beef protocol with the U.S. in October.
The president stressed that his team will be visiting Washington to let the U.S. know that the ban, if takes place, will involve only about 2 percent of Taiwan's total U.S. beef imports.
"Some 98 percent of U.S. beef imports, including bone-in beef from cattle younger than 30 months, will not be affected, " Ma stressed. (Dec. 31, 2009) United Daily News: Ma administration officials have said that the "sternly-worded" concern that Washington has expressed over the Legislative Yuan's amendment represents the "most serious diplomatic crisis" for President Ma since he took office in May 2008.
Veteran diplomat Eugene Yi-cheng Lok said Washington's latest wording was so strong that it went beyond diplomatic rhetoric and suggested that the next step could be that Washington recalls its liaison officer from Taiwan over the flap.
Lok pointed out, however, that while the Ma administration scrambles to "communicate" with Washington to minimize any possible fallout, the government should also communicate with the Legislative Yuan, which represents the voices of Taiwan's people. (Dec. 31, 2009) (By Deborah Kuo)




Updated : 2021-05-18 16:24 GMT+08:00