Monday, 23 January 2012

News Brief: Will Taiwan trade dangerous beef for visa-free entry to the US?

The Ministry of Economic Affairs dismissed speculation that Taiwan’s admission into the US’ visa-waiver program would be linked to concessions on easing restrictions on imports of US beef, the Taipei Times reports today (full article here).

“They are two different issues, and there is no question of one being traded for the other,” a ranking economics official said, asking people not to link the two issues.

This was in response to media reports saying the US was hinting that without progress on the beef issue--in which Taiwan' bans beef containing the lean meat-enhancing drug ractopamine--Taiwan would not be given visa-waiver status.
Taiwan bans the use of the drug, although the US and some other countries such as Australia, Canada and New Zealand accept certain amounts of residue of the drug in beef.

The dispute over beef has caused a suspension of trade talks between Taiwan and the US under the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA).

Taiwan and the US have not held any TIFA talks since 2007, mainly because of controversy over beef imports from the US.

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