Rejecting US pork could hurt CPTPP bid: president


Taipei Times (Taiwan)

Nov 18, 2021


The passage of a referendum seeking to ban imports of pork containing traces of the feed additive ractopomine could undermine Taiwan’s bid to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), as it could be interpreted as a lack of determination to embrace free trade, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said on Tuesday.


This is the most important display of willpower [for Taiwan], in which a country’s determination is examined,” Tsai said during a podcast in which she detailed the government’s opposition to a referendum slated for Dec. 18.


The referendum asks voters: “Do you agree that the government should prohibit imports of pork, offal or other related products that contain the beta agonist ractopamine?”


While the question does not connect ractopomine pork with US pork, Tsai urged the public to vote “No” in the referendum, saying that whether Taiwan allows such imports from the US would be scrutinized by the world as it weighs the nation’s willingness to open its markets.


All of the CPTPP’s 11 signatory countries have approved the import of such products from the US, and they will be checking if Taiwan is prepared to clear difficult hurdles to comply with the world’s high-standards in free trade, she said.


The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), which initiated the referendum in an attempt to overturn the government’s decision to lift the ban on pork imports containing ractopamine at the beginning of this year, has said such an argument is irrelevant as the US is not a CPTPP member...