A response to the Taiwan Legislature's vote changing food import regulations came quickly from U.S. lawmakers. Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Blanche Lincoln, D-Ark., said she was severely disappointed by Taiwan's decision to impose restrictions on imports of certain U.S. beef products. Lincoln said Taiwan has chosen to disregard sound science, therefore forcing us to question our ability to depend on them as a reliable trading partner.
Senator Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, said this ban raises serious concerns regarding Taiwan's commitments as a member of the World Trade Organization and went on to say that it is scientifically unfounded and unnecessary and should never have advanced.
Meanwhile, Senator Max Baucus, D-Mont., pointed out that Taiwan's own risk assessment, the World Animal Health Organization, and numerous other studies have concluded that all U.S. beef is safe.
Both Baucus and the Ranking Member of the Senate Agriculture Committee Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., have sent letters to Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou. Chambliss said that the action has no basis in sound science and represents a step backward in trade relations between the U.S. and Taiwan.
Both the National Cattlemen's Beef Association and American Meat Institute also expressed disappointment with Taiwan.
"This is a purely domestic political issue in Taiwan," said NCBA Chief Economist Greg Doud. "U.S. beef producers are sick and tired of being used as a political football."