TAIPEI — Taiwan said yesterday it will not give up restrictions it imposes on imported beef, after a warning by U.S. lawmakers that the issue could cripple free trade talks.
Taiwan pulled shipments of U.S. beef from store shelves last month after they were found to contain a drug, Paylean, used to promote leanness in animals raised for meat. “The restrictions are in place in accordance with the laws to protect public health and they are not aimed at the U.S. We will continue to enforce the regulations,” said Wang Jet-chau, a spokesman for the health department. Taiwan, China and the European Union restrict Paylean because of possible human health risks associated with the ingredient ractopamine, but 26 countries, including the United States, Canada, Australia and Brazil, have declared the product safe. Top U.S. lawmakers on Thursday urged Taiwan to roll back what they branded unscientific restrictions on U.S. beef exports and warned of “serious negative consequences” for bilateral trade. Beef exports from the United States — Taiwan’s main source — “have ground to a halt,” the lawmakers said, warning that “Taiwan’s scientifically unjustified policy” was also hurting sales of U.S. pork.