Reaction to Potential Taiwan Beef Restrictions

Taiwan team to visit U.S.

Published on: Dec 31, 2009

In a joint statement, Deputy U.S. Trade Representative Demetrios Marantis and USDA Undersecretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services Jim Miller said that Taiwan's decision to ban certain beef products from the U.S. do not have a basis in science or fact and thus in no way serve to protect Taiwan's food supply. They went on to say that science and facts, not politics or hyperbole, should govern trade and economic relations.

 

"We have worked closely with Taiwan to provide all information necessary for that country's officials to fully evaluate these measures in the preparation of the Department of Health's final risk assessment, which determined that U.S. beef and beef products are safe," the statement said. "The U.S has provided research, data, scientific experts, technical assistance, as well as detailed information regarding U.S. risk mitigation measures."

 

They add, - the United States has implemented a comprehensive set of measures, regulations, and practices that are science-based, consistent with the guidelines of the World Organization for Animal Health for minimizing the risk posed by BSE. These measures allow us to ensure consumers in the United States, Taiwan and elsewhere that U.S. beef and beef products, including offals and ground beef, are safe.  Millions of American families enjoy these products every day.

 

Senator Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, says Taiwan's potential banning of ground beef and possibly bone-in beef from the United States, shows the sensitivity of the relationship between the United States and Taiwan. Grassley gets regular updates on the situation from the Taiwanese ambassador and says the two nations need to be completely honest and transparent as they deal with this.

 

The Central News Agency is reporting that Taiwan will send a team to the United States to explain its legislature's move. The country's president reportedly called a meeting in response to a proposed legislative amendment that would abrogate a beef pact forged with the United States in October.

 

"The team will depart for the U.S. next week at the latest," said President Ma Ying-jeou. "A group consisting of legislators, scholars and representatives of civic groups and consumers also will visit the United States. On the itinerary will be on-site visits to beef plants in an effort to allay domestic fears over the safety of U.S. beef."

 

The Central News report quotes a Presidential Office official saying Taiwan's government is willing to fulfill its international commitments, but noted the proposed ban reflects the public will and was the result of a democratic process and the hope that the United States will respect the decision.