Legislature decides 9 eased-pork import directives to be reviewed

09/25/2020 08:41 PM
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DPP legislative caucus whip Ker Chien-ming (right) speaks with KMT lawmakers during Friday
DPP legislative caucus whip Ker Chien-ming (right) speaks with KMT lawmakers during Friday's session. CNA photo Sept. 25, 2020

Taipei, Sept. 25 (CNA) The Legislative Yuan decided on Friday to have five of its committees review nine administrative directives related to the recent government decision to ease restrictions on pork and beef imports and imported meat containing traces of the leanness-enhancing drug ractopamine.

The decision was made based on a motion presented by the caucuses of the ruling and opposition parties, including the Democratic Progressive Party, the Kuomintang (KMT), the Taiwan People's Party and the New Power Party, requesting a "substantial review" of the controversial administrative directives.

They include directives on the labeling of the origin of packed pork products, the labeling of the origin of pork sold to food suppliers, quarantine and examination procedures for imported beef, and rules about imports of beef and beef products from the United States and Canada.

Other directives that lawmakers require to be reviewed are a revision to a regulation that bans ractopamine, two regulations related to bulk food products, the termination of existing regulations related to the labeling of food products in bulk, and standards of acceptable amounts of animal drug traces.

The administrative directives were put forth by various government departments after President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) announced on Aug. 28 that Taiwan will open its doors to imports of beef from cattle aged over 30 months and will set standards for acceptable levels of ractopamine residue in imported pork.

Former KMT Chairman Eric Chu (right) visits a pig farm in Yunlin County to show his support for local farmers Friday. CNA photo Sept. 25, 2020
Former KMT Chairman Eric Chu (right) visits a pig farm in Yunlin County to show his support for local farmers Friday. CNA photo Sept. 25, 2020

The decision, which is being regarded as a policy made to satisfy U.S. demands to open Taiwan's market to the controversial meat, drew strong opposition from the KMT and local pig farmers, both for health concerns and fear of a possible drop in pork prices in a country where pork is a main dietary staple.

In addition, the Tsai administration's plan to start allowing the imports from Jan. 1, 2021 by revising the existing administrative directives instead of the lengthier process of introducing amendments to the laws, sparked more disputes over the new policy.

The KMT's legislative caucus contends that the issue concerning imports of pork containing ractopamine residue should be handled cautiously.

On Sept. 22 the KMT caucus demanded that the revised administrative directives related to the controversial issue must undergo a "substantial review" by the relevant legislative committees.

On Friday, the Legislature decided such reviews should be carried out jointly by the committees of economics, foreign and national defense, finance, education and culture, and social welfare and environmental hygiene.

Under the law governing the Legislative Yuan's powers, any directive that must be amended or scrapped by a legislative resolution should be amended or scrapped within two months, or become invalid.

(By Kuo Chien-shen and Elizabeth Hsu)

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