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US Calls on Taiwan to Set Ractopamine Residue Rules for Pork, Beef

23 September 2014

TAIWAN - The US trade representative and ambassador to the World Trade Organization (WTO) has called on Taiwan to set a Maximum Residue Level for ractopamine in pork and other beef products as its has already done for beef cuts.

The US is worried about Taiwan’s treatment of pork imports containing the leanness-enhancing drug ractopamine, despite Taiwan’s recent progress in seeking trade liberalization, a top US trade official said at a recent WTO meeting in Switzerland.

Taiwan Times reports that Michael Punke, a US trade representative and ambassador to the WTO, said that while Taiwan has been “an active and positive partner” in trade liberalisation initiatives, there are some areas that need greater attention.

At the third WTO Trade Policy Review of Taiwan in Geneva last week, Mr Punke said: “The United States commends Chinese Taipei [Taiwan] on the strong efforts it has made over the past four years to liberalise its trade and investment regime, and further integrate with the global economy.”

For instance, he said, the nation had implemented important legal reforms to improve its trade secrets enforcement regime.

Proposed amendments intended to reduce regulatory reviews and to increase transparency reviewing foreign investment in the nation are also pending legislative review, he said.

The nation also implemented regulatory changes this year that brought its technical standards into compliance with international norms in certain industries, Mr Punke added.

He continued: “While Chinese Taipei has reason to be pleased with the results of its efforts to date, the United States would like to highlight several areas that we believe need greater attention.”

He said that although Taiwan established a maximum residue level (MRL) for ractopamine in beef cuts in 2012, it has not set an MRL for ractopamine in pork and other beef products, despite the Codex Alimentarius Commission’s adoption of MRLs for ractopamine in these products.

Taiwan also maintains “unpredictable policies” that impede the importation of rice and organic products, among others, he said.

In other areas, he added, Taiwan needs to continue improving the transparency and predictability of the investment review process.

He said statements made this year by Taiwan’s leadership, encouraging proactive liberalization of the nation’s trade and investment regime, were heartening.

According to Taipei Times, Mr Punke added: “For Chinese Taipei to meet its ambitious trade and investment goals, these statements must be backed up with swift and concrete action.”

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