Lawmakers ask Tsai to uphold ban on US pork

 

Source: China Post

(http://www.chinapost.com.tw/taiwan/national/national-news/2016/05/03/465029/Lawmakers-ask.htm)

By Enru Lin ,The China Post
May 3, 2016, 12:02 am TWN

TAIPEI, Taiwan — A legislative committee passed a motion on Monday to ask the incoming central government to maintain Taiwan’s ban on U.S. pork containing leanness enhancers.

Taiwan prohibits all imports of pork produced with ractopamine, a controversial growth promoter used to keep pigs lean.

Legislature’s Social Welfare and Environmental Hygiene Committee green-lit a non-binding resolution requesting that the incoming administration maintain Taiwan’s current policy on the feed additive.

The motion must pass a third reading before being enacted.

Sponsored by Kuomintang (KMT) Legislator Wang Yu-min (王育敏), the motion cited the additive’s health risks and said that over 70 percent of the Taiwan public was opposed to allowing ractopamine in pork imports.

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus did not oppose the motion but pushed for a textual alternation that explicitly referred to the motion as a “suggestion."

DPP Legislator Wu Kuen-yuh (吳焜裕) told reporters it would be “extremely difficult" for Taiwan to insist on a zero-tolerance policy in the future.

A possible end to Taiwan’s ban on pork containing ractopamine is emerging as a flash point, after Agriculture Minister-Designate Tsao Chi-hung (曹啟鴻) said in an April 21 interview that Taiwan would not be able to shut its doors “forever."

Over the past year, U.S. officials indicated repeatedly that easing the pork ban was a key precondition for Taiwan’s membership in the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a U.S.-led trade bloc.

Taiwan prohibited ractopamine in imports of beef until 2012 when the central government lifted the ban under U.S. pressure.

Risk Assessment Pending

Bureau of Foreign Trade Director Jen-ni Yang (楊珍妮) told lawmakers that the Ministry of Economic Affairs was conducting a risk assessment of U.S. pork imports containing ractopamine.

At the Legislative Yuan, the Economics Ministry said Taiwan’s ministries were working together closely to develop “professional risk assessments" to help with future decision-making.

“Food safety for citizens has always been a paramount consideration (of national policy)" the report stated.