U.S. trade report raises concerns over Taiwan's meat import rules

04/01/2021 12:19 PM
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CNA file photo
CNA file photo

Washington, March 31 (CNA) The United States has expressed concerns over Taiwan's new regulations on imports of U.S. pork containing ractopamine and U.S. beef in its annual report highlighting significant foreign barriers to American exports.

The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative said in its 2021 National Trade Estimate Report that Taiwan's implementation of maximum residue limits (MRLs) for ractopamine in imported pork inaccurately implies that there is a food safety concern with U.S. pork and pork products containing the leanness-enhancing drug.

In addition, a requirement to change labeling whenever the source of the pork changes could prompt Taiwanese manufacturers of processed pork products from purchasing U.S. pork in favor of Taiwanese pork, the report said.

The U.S. has raised concerns about the labeling requirement with Taiwan, including on the sidelines of the October 2020 World Trade Organization Committee on Technical Barriers to Trade meeting, according to the report.

President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) announced in August 2020 that Taiwan will set standards for ractopamine in imported American pork and ease restrictions on American beef, allowing imports of U.S. beef and beef products from cattle 30 months of age and older. The rule relaxations took effect on Jan. 1 this year.

The relaxations mean that as well as allowing (MRLs) in imported beef at 0.01 parts per million, which has been in place for some time, pork is also covered, with 0.01 ppm of ractopamine permitted in imported pork muscle and fat, 0.04 ppm in pork liver and kidneys, and 0.01 ppm in all other edible parts.

However, other barriers, including a ban on imports of U.S. ground beef and certain other beef products, remain in place.

Therefore, the U.S. continues to urge Taiwan to open its market fully to U.S. beef and beef products based on science, the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) guidelines and relevant protocols, according to the report.

The report noted that the U.S. is also concerned that Taiwan's method of testing for ractopamine residue is not aligned with methods of analysis for ractopamine recommended by the Codex Alimentarius Commission (Codex) and could provide inaccurate results.

"The United States continues to ask that Taiwan align its methods of detection with the standards utilized by countries, in this case Codex," it added.

The U.S. goods trade deficit with Taiwan was US$29.9 billion in 2020, a 30.4 percent increase over 2019. U.S. exports to Taiwan were US$30.5 billion, down 2.5 percent from the previous year, while U.S. imports from Taiwan were US$60.4 billion, up 11.4 percent. Taiwan was the United States’10th-largest goods export market in 2020, according to the report.

(By Chiang Chin-yeh and Evelyn Kao)

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