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Eased meat import rules to earn international trust: Tsai

Taiwan will allow pork containing ractopamine beginning Jan. 1, 2021

U.S. pork will enter the Taiwan market on Jan. 1, 2021.

U.S. pork will enter the Taiwan market on Jan. 1, 2021. (Wikimedia Commons photo)

The move by Taiwan to ease rules on pork and beef imports from the United States will help Taiwan build international trust, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said Saturday.

In a post on her Facebook page, Tsai said the easing of restrictions has received positive responses from several high-ranking U.S. government officials, who have expressed optimism over the future development of bilateral trade between the two sides. On Friday, Tsai announced that Taiwan will set standards for ractopamine residue in imported pork, reversing her Democratic Progressive Party's long insistence on a zero-tolerance policy toward the controversial leanness-promoting feed additive.

Ractopamine is currently banned for use in pigs in Taiwan as well as in the European Union and China because of concerns over its safety to both the animals and humans. Taiwan will also open its market to U.S. beef from cattle aged over 30 months, which has been barred because of fears of mad-cow disease.

After Tsai's announcement, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo among many others praised Taiwan's move to relax its import rules on U.S. pork and beef. Pence said the decision "opens the door for further economic cooperation and a stronger trade partnership" with Taiwan.

Tsai said the move was evidence that Taiwan was willing to remove difficulties in trade relationships between the two countries and called it the right decision at the right time to forge closer bilateral or even multilateral trade ties in the global market. The decision "was critical for Taiwan to build international trust in the country," Tsai said.

Following Tsai's announcement, Taiwan will allow imports of pork containing a controversial feed additive and American beef from cattle aged over 30 months starting on Jan. 1, 2021, according to the Council of Agriculture. The Ministry of Economic Affairs said Friday the decision will be conducive to establishing a bilateral trade agreement (BTA) between Taiwan and the U.S.