UK official eager to see British pork enter Taiwan market

Taipei, The United Kingdom is looking forward to seeing its pork enter Taiwan's market for the first time after Taiwan's government recently opened the door to British pork imports, a U.K. official has said.

The Council of Agriculture's Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine announced the decision on Saturday, after blocking imports of British pork for years because of an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) in that country.

Andrew Pittam, deputy representative at the British Office in Taipei, said on Wednesday his office welcomed Taiwan's decision and felt it would further strengthen the U.K.-Taiwan trade relationship.

Pittam said he believes British pork will hit Taiwan's store shelves fairly soon.

"We hope British pork will be available in the next few months. It's now for distributors and suppliers to work together on next steps, and we'll be supporting that process," Pittam said in a written statement in response to a CNA reporter's inquiry.

"British pork is exported to many places around the world so it's positive that Taiwan is now a further destination. Like with Taiwanese exports to the U.K, this should be mutually beneficial for our economies and consumers," Pittam said.

The import announcement was just another milestone in Taiwan-U.K. relations, which have seen improvements over the years, according to Pittam.

Priorities in Bilateral Exchanges

During an interview with CNA last Thursday, Pittam, who assumed his post in July 2017, pointed out a number of priorities in bilateral exchanges beyond the latest pork breakthrough.

One of them is offshore wind power.

Pittam said Taiwan's government has set "a very ambitious program on renewable energy," referring to the President Tsai Ing-wen (???) administration's goal to install 5.5 gigawatts of offshore wind power capacity by 2025.

The U.K. has dedicated itself to offshore wind power since the early 2000s and is now recognized internationally as a pioneer in the field, Pittam said.

"In a way, U.K. and Taiwan are natural partners on this. Taiwan has developed the policy and expertise, we have worked very closely with them and now we are getting to the business end, where allocations have been set out and developers know what they have to achieve by a certain time scale," he said.

Taiwan's economic ministry selected seven companies on May 1 to build 10 offshore wind farms along the country's western coast in the coming years.

Pittam said more than 13 British companies, some based in Taiwan and others with representatives in Taiwan, are working closely with local partners in meeting the government's target.

Another priority will be science and innovation.

Praising Taiwan's expertise in scientific research, Pittam said Taiwan's Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI) has a "fantastic track record of commercializing research."

The U.K. and Taiwan share the same goals and challenges in the area, he said, noting that Taiwan's 5 plus 2 initiative is similar to the U.K.s Industrial Strategy announced at the end of last year, which was aimed at ensuring that the U.K. remains one of the most innovative economies in the world.

"A lot of challenges (addressed by the two programs) are similar; how to deal with an aging society; how to make sure our cities deliver for citizens; modern transportation and electric vehicles. It feels like there is huge scope in collaboration," he said.

That is why the British government announced this March it will fund Taiwanese researchers to conduct research in the U.K. for up to a year to strengthen R&D cooperation between the two countries, he said.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel