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U.S. continues to blast Taiwan for beef, rice, wine barriers

2011/03/31 18:21:10

Washington, March 30 (CNA) The U.S. said Wednesday that its beef,rice and distilled spirits are still facing access barriers on entryto Taiwan, and highlighted the problem of Taiwan's supply ofcomponents for Chinese counterfeit goods.

In its 26th annual report, the Office of the United States TradeRepresentative said that "Taiwan maintains unwarranted sanitary andphytosanitary measures that continue to serve as market accessbarriers to U.S. beef and beef product exports."

"Re-opening Taiwan's beef market consistent with internationalscience-based standards as well as in a commercially viable manner isan important priority," the report reads.

In January, Taiwan's authorities found two shipments of U.S. beefto contain the illegal feed additive ractopamine, prompting massivesurveillance of meat products seeking to enter the local market.

According to the report, the move has negatively impacted beefimports from the United States.

The U.S. urged Taiwan to accept a maximum residue limit (MRL) forractopamine instead of insisting on a zero tolerance policy.

Taiwan has delayed the implementation of its proposed MRL forractopamine, which it submitted to the World Trade Organization (WTO)in 2007 but which remains unapproved, the report noted.

Meanwhile, the U.S. office also accused Taiwan of failing toadhere to its commitment to the WTO over rice imports, saying that ithas affected U.S. rice exports to Taiwan.

The report also cited the long-term trade dispute over Taiwan'srice wine.

The Taiwanese authorities say locally produced rice wine is usedalmost exclusively for cooking, while opponents, including the U.S.and the European Union, complain that Taiwanese rice wine competeswith or serves as a substitute for imported alcoholic beverages.

In the report that will be submitted to the White House and theU.S. Congress in April, the office said that "steps should be taken"to ensure that "imported alcoholic beverages are not taxed at ahigher rate than domestically produced alcoholic beverages."

The report also says Taiwan should lower tariffs onlarge-capacity motorcycles, canned soup, sweet biscuits, snack food,vegetable juice, potato and potato products and various fruits andvegetables.

Taiwan has removed more than 99 percent of its import controls,but 107 product categories still face import restrictions, up from 71recorded in 2008, according to the report.

In addition, the report says that although Taiwan "generallyprovides strong intellectual property rights (IPR) protection andenforcement, "IPR holders continue to express concern" overinfringements on copyrighted material on the Internet, as well asillegal textbook copying.

(By Zep Hu and Alex Jiang)