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U.S. scholars caution Taiwan on handling of beef issue

U.S. scholars caution Taiwan on handling of beef issue

Washington, Dec. 30 (CNA) American scholars familiar with Taiwan affairs suggested Wednesday that Taiwan should consider the negative impact the beef issue will have on future bids to negotiate trade deals with other countries, as it ponders how to handle the controversy.
Taiwan's legislators on Tuesday reached a consensus to ban imports of ground beef or bovine offal from the U.S. through an amendment to the Act Governing Food Sanitation. They will formally vote on the amendment on Jan. 5.
The cross-party consensus contravenes some of the contents of a protocol inked by representatives of Taipei and Washington in late October and has drawn a stern rebuke from Washington.
Bonnie S. Glaser, senior fellow at the Washington-based think tank Center for Strategic and International Studies, said she believes that the U.S. will expect that President Ma Ying-jeou's administration will try its best to prevent the proposed amendment from passing the legislature.
Should the amendment be written into law, its impact will be limited to economic issues, such as the anticipated reopening of negotiations under the Taiwan-U.S. trade and investment framework agreement (TIFA), Glaser suggested.
As to its possible impact on other issues, such as U.S. military sales to Taiwan or arrangements for President Ma's transit visit to the U. S., Glaser said she highly doubted that Washington would link the flap over beef to other issues.
Walter Lohman, director of the Heritage Foundation's Asian Studies Center, also suggested the beef issue may have a negative impact on Taiwan's economic and trade relations with the U.S. and one of the consequences could be the imposition of more barriers to the reopening of TIFA talks.
Arguing that the debate in the Legislative Yuan over the amendment was not a demonstration of democracy but rather a show of political manipulation, Lohman said that what should really matter is the safety of U.S. beef products.
He felt that Taiwan had handled the matter very poorly and that the country's anti-globalization posture would disappoint those who expect to see closer economic relations between Taiwan and the U.S.
(By Jorge Liu and Lillian Lin)




Updated : 2021-06-22 11:58 GMT+08:00