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Economics Minister: US Pork Imports Key to Taiwan’s TPP Bid

icon2015/10/14
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 Economics Minister: US Pork Imports Key to Taiwan’s TPP Bid

 Sources: All Taipei newspapers

 October 14, 2015

Taiwan has indicated its interest in acceding to the newly-concluded, US-led Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement. During general interpellations in the Legislative Yuan yesterday, KMT legislator Alex Tsai (蔡正元) asked whether the US government had mentioned any additional conditions in exchange for its support for Taiwan's accession to the TPP, such as lifting Taiwan's import ban on US pork containing traces of ractopamine, when the two countries held talks in early October in Taipei. 

Economics Minister John Deng (鄧振中) frankly stated that the US had stated clearly that if Taiwan would not lift the import ban on US pork products, it would be difficult for Washington to support Taiwan's bid to accede to the TPP. Deng noted, “The US has repeatedly indicated its position very clearly.” 

Deng stressed that there were two key hurdles with regard to Taiwan's accession to the TPP: galvanizing domestic determination to promote economic liberalization and obtaining support from existing TPP member states. He noted that the TPP was currently a 12-nation agreement covering an enormous number of items, so it would be a reasonable timetable if Taiwan could complete negotiations within two years. He expressed the hope that Taiwan could participate in the second round of TPP talks scheduled for 2017. 

In a related story, Michael Tseng (曾永光), Director of the Foreign Ministry’s International Cooperation and Economic Affairs Department, yesterday noted that the government’s current policy was to retain the ban on imports of foreign pork containing ractopamine residue while also excluding animal offal from the list of permitted items for import. However, Tseng stated that the US insisted that US pork exports to Taiwan should be based on scientific evidence, so Taiwan had to deal with this daunting issue if we wanted to participate in the follow-up negotiations. 

Tseng stated that if the people on Taiwan believed that the TPP was vital to Taiwan's economic development, we had to squarely face the differences between the existing domestic system and international norms, adding that since the ruling and opposition parties both support Taiwan's TPP bid, the public should realize that Taiwan would have to pay a price because “there is no such thing as a free lunch.”

 

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