In this file:
· Civic groups urge reversal of policy on US pork
· Solving the issue of US pork, beef imports Solving the issue of US pork, beef imports
· The U.S. and Taiwan are drawing closer, irritating China
Civic groups urge reversal of policy on US pork
'Nonsense': A farming advocate said warning labels should be added to products made with US pork containing ractopamine, similar to those on cigarette packages
By Lee I-chia, Taipei Times (Taiwan)
Sep 9, 2020
Several civic groups yesterday urged the government not to allow the importation of US pork containing ractopamine.
President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) on Aug. 28 announced that Taiwan would set maximum residue limits (MRL) for leanness-enhancing feed additive ractopamine in pork imported from the US.
Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) on Saturday unveiled the ministry’s MRLs for US pork containing ractopamine, which are scheduled to take effect on Jan. 1 next year.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which is overseen by the ministry, on Monday published draft amendments to the relevant regulations.
The amendments to the Standards for Veterinary Drug Residue Limits in Foods (動物用藥殘留標準), the importation standards for US and Canadian beef and beef products, and the Regulations on Bulk Food Labeling (散裝食品標示規定) would be open for public review for seven days, after which they would be reviewed and any necessary changes made before taking effect, the FDA said.
The MRLs for US pork containing ractopamine are 0.04 parts per million (ppm) for liver and kidneys, and 0.01ppm for all other parts of the animal.
The draft amendment for the regulation on US beef removes the requirement that importers provide documentation showing that “the beef or beef products were produced at a verified establishment under the USDA’s [US Department of Agriculture’s] less than 30 month age-verification USDA Quality System Assessment program for Taiwan,” effectively lifting a ban on US beef from cattle over the age of 30 months.
Instead, importers would be required to provide documentation showing that “the beef or beef products were derived from cattle that were slaughtered in meat establishments certified by the USDA as eligible to export beef or beef products to Taiwan, and that passed ante-mortem and post-mortem inspection conducted by USDA personnel under the supervision of the resident designated veterinary representative.”
As for the regulations on bulk food labeling, in addition to the existing requirement that businesses mark the country of origin (COO) on bulk food made with beef and other edible parts of cattle, the draft amendment requires that businesses place COO labels on bulk food made with pork and other edible parts of pigs.
However, as milk and beef tallow are not among ingredients that require COO labeling, bulk food products made with pork fat would not be required to bear COO labeling either, with the exception of lard sold as an end product.
Chen yesterday said that the ministry would work toward requiring COO labeling for food products that use any part of the pig, including pig fat, adding that it would continue to communicate with interested parties and that the regulations could be further changed.
Representatives from several civic groups, including the Taiwanese Peasants’ Union, Taiwan Rural Front, Green Farmers’ Family, People’s Supervisory Alliance and Changhua Medical Alliance, at a conference at the Legislative Yuan urged the government to halt the policy, citing concerns over people’s health and undemocratic decisionmaking.
They presented three demands to the government: start trade negotiations with the US without lifting the ban on US pork and beef imports; conduct a ractopamine health risk assessment and risk communications based the standards set by the World Organization for Animal Health; and allow the Legislative Yuan to deliberate on the policy to protect basic democratic values...
Solving the issue of US pork, beef imports
By Yen Huai-shing 顏慧欣, Taipei Times (Taiwan)
Sep 9, 2020
Yen Huai-shing is deputy director of the Chung-Hua Institution for Economic Research’s Economic Law Research Center.
The issue of US pork and beef imports has once again become controversial. However, it is also an opportune moment for Taiwan to stop prioritizing political judgements over scientific risk assessments for every food safety issue.
The US pork and beef issue is a long-standing obstacle to improving Taiwan-US trade relations. As well as not abiding by international standards, Taiwan has repeatedly failed to keep its promises.
Regarding US beef, the World Organization for Animal Health classified the US as a controlled zone for bovine spongiform encephalopathy, commonly known as mad cow disease, in 2007, and as a negligible risk zone in 2013.
Australia, Japan and other countries are also negligible risk zones, but Taiwan only applies age limits for cattle to US beef, so the US accuses Taiwan of disregarding international standards and imposing discriminatory conditions.
The experiences of South Korea and Japan can be used as reference points for Taiwan’s situation. South Korea suspended imports of US beef in 2003, but in 2006 signed a protocol with the US to allow imports of beef from US cattle under the age of 30 months. This concession cleared the way for launching US-South Korean free trade agreement (FTA) negotiations the same year.
However, after the FTA was signed, the US carried on asking South Korea to allow imports of US beef from cattle of any age.
Many South Koreans felt that the government was sacrificing food safety for the sake of an FTA. South Korea’s way of calming the controversy was to encourage traders from both countries to reach a transitional plan under which South Korea would not allow imports of beef from cattle over the age of 30 months until consumer confidence was restored.
The US government cooperated by guaranteeing the quality of US beef sold to South Korea by approving beef only from farms certified under the US Department of Agriculture’s Quality System Assessment Program, and by agreeing to incorporate the above-mentioned private commercial plan as an annex to the official protocol.
South Korea still does not permit imports of beef from cattle of any age, but the US has not made a fuss about it because South Korea promised in the FTA to gradually reduce its 40 percent tariff on US beef to zero by 2026.
Japan had similar restrictions on US beef, but at the beginning of last year it started allowing imports of beef from cattle of any age from the US, Canada and Ireland, which are all negligible risk zones. This measure abides by international standards and eliminates trade discrimination.
Subsequently, in April last year, Japan commenced negotiations for an FTA with the US that partially went into effect in January.
The Japanese and South Korean experiences show that tackling the US beef issue is a precondition for bilateral trade negotiations...
The U.S. and Taiwan are drawing closer, irritating China
· On Aug. 31, State Department Assistant Secretary David Stilwell said Washington and Taipei will establish a new bilateral economic dialogue that will focus on technology but will also cover health care and energy.
· Last month, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar visited Taiwan, becoming the highest-level U.S. official to visit in four decades.
· “Beijing is increasingly concerned about US-Taiwan cooperation, including a call by some Taiwan watchers in the US that Washington should end its policy of strategic ambiguity and pledge concrete support for Taiwan against Chinese aggression,” said Eurasia analysts Kelsey Broderick and Michael Hirson in a note on Monday.
Huileng Tan, CNBC
Sep 8 2020
SINGAPORE —Taiwan has been building closer relationships with the U.S. recently, raising the ire of China.
The development comes as Taipei distances itself from China ahead of the U.S. presidential election and as China steps up military activity around the island.
On Aug. 31, State Department Assistant Secretary David Stilwell said Washington and Taipei will establish a new bilateral economic dialogue that will focus on technology but will also cover health care and energy. After the announcement, Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen said that bilateral relations “are getting stronger by the day.”
Just days earlier, Taiwan announced that it would ease restrictions on American beef and pork imports, paving the way for an eventual free trade deal with the U.S.
Last month, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar visited Taiwan, becoming the highest-level U.S. official to visit in four decades.
The developments between Taipei and Washington come as the rivalry between the U.S. and China grows more tense.
“Washington is embroiled in an increasingly ferocious great-power competition with Beijing, raising concerns that the United States may actually be strengthening ties with Taiwan primarily to frustrate and thwart China,” Derek Grossman, senior defense analyst at Rand Corp, wrote in an commentary last month that first appeared on the South China Morning Post.
The moves drew protests from China, which considers Taiwan as part of its territory that must one day be reunified with the mainland and therefore should have no right to participate in international diplomacy. During Azar’s visit, Chinese fighter jets crossed the midline of the Taiwan Strait.
“Beijing is increasingly concerned about US-Taiwan cooperation, including a call by some Taiwan watchers in the US that Washington should end its policy of strategic ambiguity and pledge concrete support for Taiwan against Chinese aggression,” Eurasia analysts Kelsey Broderick and Michael Hirson said in a note on Monday.
Washington has no formal diplomatic tie with Taipei but is Taiwan’s most powerful international backer and largest arms supplier.
U.S. cautious on Taiwan tilt ...
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