Pork Major Issue in US-Taiwan Trade Ties, Says US Official

Fri, 16 Jun 2017

TAIWAN - The United States is revising its trade policy and advancing its relations with Taiwan but there are still some barriers, such as agricultural issues and pork imports, which are hampering progress, a US official said in Taipei Thursday.

Robert Manogue, head of the US State Department's Office of Bilateral Trade, said that while some media reports have painted the US trade policy as protectionist, it is in fact the same as in many other countries, focusing on opening its market wide to imports and negotiating fair agreements with its trading partners.

The US attaches great importance to its Asian-Pacific trade policy, Mr Manogue said in a keynote speech on creating a win-win trade relationship, at a global trade forum held by the Importers and Exporters Association of Taipei.

"One of our goals is to promote relations with Taiwan," Mr Manogue said.

Taiwan and the US have a long-standing economic and trade relationship, he said, adding that bilateral ties are likely to continue to develop.

However, the two countries have to overcome obstacles in their relationship, such as issues related to Taiwan's policy on importation of US pork and agricultural products, and seek ways of settling these problems so that the ties could be solidified, Mr Manogue said.

Mr Manogue also said he hoped Taiwan and the US could collaborate in the area of digital economy and create more digital innovation jobs.

Taiwan has a ban on imports of US meat products that contain traces of the leanness-enhancing drug ractopamine.

It relented on beef in 2012 after maximum residue limits for ractopamine in beef and pork were set by a United Nations food standards body.

However, Taiwan maintained its "zero tolerance" for ractopamine in pork imports, citing lingering safety concerns about the drug and strong opposition from local pig farmers.