Washington, March 4 (CNA) Taiwan is very willing to address farm product issues with other countries, but food safety remains the top priority when touching on these matters, Stanley Kao (???), Taiwan's representative to the U.S., said Sunday.
"These individual issues should not be viewed as a premise for Taiwan and the United States to conduct negotiations on farm products," Kao said during a meeting with reporters in Washington, saying that the Taiwan government is transparent when handling such matters.
"The government will continue to negotiate with the U.S. on the entry of U.S. pork and beef to Taiwan in line with international practices, and devise management regulations based on scientific standards and basis."
Amid grave public concern and strong opposition, Taiwan has maintained a ban on U.S. pork products containing the leanness enhancing drug ractopamine since 2006. But the country relaxed its ban of the drug in U.S. beef products in 2012 due to U.S. pressure.
The issue recently returned to the public eye again after the U.S. reiterated in its "2018 Trade Policy Agenda and 2017 Annual Report" that the ban remains an obstacle to the clinching of a free trade agreement between the two countries.
As to possible implications on Taiwan arising from the U.S. decision to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum product imports, Kao said relevant government agencies have been closely monitoring follow-up development and will report to the World Trade Organization regarding certain products if necessary.
Communication channels between Taiwan and the U.S. are smooth and the Taiwan representative office in Washington will consult the U.S. side to gain a deeper understanding of its overall trade and economic policy to assess any possible impact on Taiwan's businesses and products, he said.
Turning to the recent passage of the Taiwan Travel Act in the U.S. Senate, Kao called it a positive development and a friendly gesture, expressing hope that a broader foundation and basis will be created for exchanges of visits by ranking officials between the two countries.
Asked whether any arrangements have been made to facilitate visits by Taiwanese ranking officials to the U.S., Kao said he has not received any such instruction but added that it remains a goal for him to pursue.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel