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U.S. raises Taiwan pork issues at WTO meeting

2014/09/18 19:51:45

Washington, Sept. 17 (CNA) The United States is concerned about Taiwan's treatment of pork imports containing the leanness-enhancing drug ractopamine despite Taiwan's recent progress in seeking trade liberalization, according to a top U.S. trade official at a recent World Trade Organization (WTO) meeting in Switzerland.

Michael Punke, deputy U.S. trade representative and U.S. ambassador to the WTO, indicated that while Taiwan has been "an active and positive partner" in multilateral and plurilateral trade liberalization initiatives, there are some areas that need greater attention.

"The United States commends Chinese Taipei (Taiwan) on the strong efforts it has made over the past four years to liberalize its trade and investment regime and further integrate with the global economy," Punke said Sept. 16 at the third WTO Trade Policy Review of Taiwan in Geneva, Switzerland.

For instance, Punke said, Taiwan has implemented important legal reforms, beginning in 2013, to improve its trade secrets enforcement regime.

Moreover, proposed amendments intended to reduce regulatory reviews and to increase transparency in the process for reviewing foreign investment into Taiwan are currently pending legislative review in Taiwan, he noted.

Taiwan also implemented regulatory changes in 2014 that brought its technical standards into compliance with international norms in certain industries, Punke added.

"While Chinese Taipei (Taiwan) 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," Punke said.

He said that although Taiwan established a maximum residue level (MRL) for ractopamine in beef muscle 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.

Furthermore, Taiwan maintains "unpredictable policies" that impede the importation of rice, organic products and other products, Punke said.

In other areas, he added, the U.S. has observed a need for continued progress by Taiwan in improving the transparency and predictability of the investment review process.

He said the U.S. is heartened by statements made this year by Taiwan's leadership, encouraging proactive liberalization of Taiwan’s trade and investment regime.

"For Chinese Taipei (Taiwan) to meet its ambitious trade and investment goals, these statements must be backed up with swift and concrete action," Punke added.

"The United States welcomes the early fruits of these efforts and will continue to engage with Chinese Taipei (Taiwan) across the many forums and initiatives that we have established in order to further break down trade barriers and strengthen our economic ties," he said.

(By Tony Liao and Jeffrey Wu)