US presses for lifting of ractopamine ban at WTO


TAIPEI–The United States has continued to challenge Taiwan’s ban on meat imports containing residue of the leanness enhancer ractopamine at the World Trade Organization (WTO), a WTO official said yesterday.

In a meeting of the Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) Measures Committee held in Geneva Tuesday, the United States, Canada and Brazil repeated their positions that scientific evidence shows ractopamine to be safe, including findings from the Joint Export Committee on Food Additives under the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization and the World Health Organization, the official told CNA in an e-mail, speaking on condition of anonymity.

They urged Taiwan to adopt the minimum residue level (MRL) it had been planning to introduce, as notified to the WTO in 2007, the official said.

The United States also urged all members to ensure that their measures are based on science and do not unnecessarily impede trade, he said.

In response, Taiwan’s representative at the meeting promised to report the comments back to the government, according to the official.

The administration of former President Chen Shui-bian had planned to set a MRL of 10 parts per billion for ractopamine in beef and pork and notified the WTO about the plan Aug. 16, 2007. The government, however, later decided to delay the adoption and notified the WTO of the decision Sept. 4 of that year.

The ractopamine issue has been discussed in several SPS Measures Committee meetings since October 2008, when it was first raised as a specific trade concern by the United States about Taiwan’s ban on imports of meat from ractopamine-fed animals.