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President promises to resolve U.S. beef issues

2012/05/15 17:17:43

Taipei, May 15 (CNA) President Ma Ying-jeou said Tuesday that the government is continuing efforts to resolve issues regarding beef imports from the United States, in the hope that trade talks between the two countries can soon resume.

Receiving a delegation from the U.S. State of Kentucky led by Governor Steve Beshear at the Presidential Office that day, Ma also expressed hope that Taiwan can join the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement within eight years.

"Only by doing this can we increase integration with the regional economies and avoid being marginalized," Ma said.

Talks between Taiwan and the U.S. under the bilateral Trade and Investment Framework Agreement, last held in July 2007, have been stymied for several years over Taiwan's bans on imports of U.S. beef, first out of fears about mad cow disease and later because of U.S. beef containing leanness-enhancing drug ractopamine, which is permitted in the U.S but banned in Taiwan.

Citing remarks made last year by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that Taiwan is "an important security and economic partner" of the U.S., Ma said that his government has been successful in restoring mutual trust between the two countries.

He also thanked the Kentucky State Legislature for its support of Taiwan's attempts to join international organizations, including the International Civil Aviation Organization, and noted that this year marks the 30th anniversary of sister-state relations between Taiwan and Kentucky.

(By Lee Shu-hua and Kay Liu)