Taipei--The Taiwan Swine Association has expressed strong opposition to imports of U.S. pork containing traces of the leanness-enhancing agent ractopamine, stressing that it will not change its position unless there is scientific evidence proving that such meat poses no health risk.
"We will stand against (such imports) to the end," said association Secretary-General Chang Sheng-chin (???), unless the results of government research and an assessment of ractopamine's effect on hogs and food safety prove that pork containing traces of the drug is perfectly safe for consumption.
Chang noted that the Agricultural Technology Research Institute under the Cabinet-level Council of Agriculture has been studying the impact of the use of leanness-enhancing drugs on hogs, while the Ministry of Health and Welfare has been running a health safety assessment on consumption of pork containing ractopamine.
At the moment, all members of his association insist that the government must uphold the ban on imports of U.S. pork containing traces of ractopamine, Chang said.
The industry renewed its strong opposition to U.S. pork imports as Taiwan and U.S. officials were engaging in trade dialogue in Taipei.
Taiwan's ban on imports of U.S. pork is expected to be one of the key issues to be discussed during the dialogue, which began on Wednesday and will run through Friday.
In its 2016 trade report, published on Tuesday, the U.S. International Trade Commission said that at the meeting between Taiwan and the U.S. under the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) platform last year, the two sides agreed that more progress is needed on a broad range of agricultural trade issues.
"The United States was mostly concerned about the degree to which biotechnology plays a role in Taiwan's agricultural trade policies, and expressed strong interest that Taiwan remove bans on U.S. pork and certain beef products produced using ractopamine," the report says.
On Wednesday, Tseng Hsien-chao (???), a negotiator of Taiwan's Office of Trade Negotiations, said that the latest annual negotiations with the U.S. are expected to focus on topics raised in previous talks, including pork and beef imports.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel