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Test EVERY Cow in the Food Chain

Test EVERY Cow in the Food Chain
Like Other Countries Do

Saturday, January 23, 2010

U.S. urged to show respect over beef dispute

U.S. urged to show respect over beef dispute

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Premier Wu Den-yi and several lawmakers yesterday called for U.S. understanding and respect for Taiwan people after four House representatives called on the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative to halt new trade talks with Taiwan.

The House representatives said the U.S. should suspend the negotiations on trade and investment with Taipei untilthe dispute over Taiwan's ban on imports of some American beef products is settled.

Premier Wu said Taiwan has allowed the entry of 90 percent of U.S. beef products with only a tiny portion of 2 percent related to ground beef and internal organs remaining on the prohibition list due to public health concern.

He said the government will continue communicating with the U.S. to solve the trade friction.

Officials at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the nation's representative to Washington has been engaged in active dialogue with U.S. lawmakers to seek understanding.

But they said the beef issue should not hinder the progress on other talks on trade and investment between Taiwan and the U.S. for the sake of greater mutual benefits.

Lawmakers of both the ruling Kuomintang (KMT) and the opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), who passed the new revision to the Act Governing Food Sanitation to tighten beef imports, said it is unrealistic for the U.S. to postpone the resumption of regular talks concerning the Taiwan-U.S. trade and investment framework agreement (TIFA).

They said the rules are meant to better safeguard the people's health from possible infection of beef products affected by mad cow disease.

The move is not singly targeted at the U.S. products but covers all import sources around the world, they said.

Legislator Tsai Huang-liang of the DPP said the U.S. should respect the decision made by the elected representatives of the people in Taiwan and Washington should not take actions that will affect Taiwan people's affection toward the U.S.

Furthermore, the overall benefits of the trade and investment relations between the two nations are far too high to be affected by the beef issue, he said.

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