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Resolution of U.S. beef issue needed for TIFA talks: President

2012/05/21 16:30:32

Taipei, May 21 (CNA) President Ma Ying-jeou said Monday that Taiwan has to resolve the issues of U.S. beef imports to remove the technical obstacles to a resumption of Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) talks between Taiwan and the United States.

Ma said that TIFA, signed in 1994 as a framework for Taiwan-U.S. dialogue on trade-related issues, is a good platform for trade talks and that he hopes the two sides can resume trade negotiations as soon as possible.

The resolution of the U.S. beef dispute, however, is a prerequisite, as it is currently blocking the talks, Ma said when meeting with a U.S. congressional delegation led by Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, chairwoman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.

He was referring to Taiwan's current ban on imports of U.S. beef containing residue of ractopamine, a leanness enhancer used as a feed additive by the U.S. meat industry that is banned in many countries, including Taiwan.

The ban is believed to be largely associated with the longtime stalling of the TIFA talks, which the U.S. halted in 2007 after Taiwan imposed a strict ban on ractopamine a year earlier and refused to admit batches of U.S. beef containing the drug.

Ma also said Taiwan wants to be included in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) within eight years and added that the government will create conditions over the next few years to increase its leverage when trying to participate in regional economic blocs.

He also touted his China policies, calling the peaceful cross-Taiwan Strait situation "an intangible form of national defense," because no-one will be willing to change the status quo at the cost of the prosperity and peace across the Taiwan Strait.

(By Kelven Huang and Jamie Wang)