The China Post

By Grace Soong–The ruling Kuomintang (KMT) has its mind set on passing U.S. beef-related regulation amendments within the current legislative session.

KMT caucus whip Hsu Yao-chang (徐耀昌), Legislator Lai Shyh-bao (賴士葆), and another 11 party legislators met up with Presidential Office Secretary-General Tseng Yung-chuan (曾永權) yesterday to discuss potential cooperation aimed at forcing their U.S. beef amendments through the Legislature before the current session ends.

Early last week, some KMT legislators proposed halting discussion of the Executive Yuan’s stock gains tax implementation draft until the next session, surprising higher party officials. To prevent a similar situation from occurring again, Tseng has recently been eagerly inviting KMT legislators for luncheons and gatherings to communicate on the topic of U.S. beef. The three-way free trade pact talks between China, Japan, and South Korea have put great pressure on Taiwan, a KMT member said, pointing out that such an impact has alerted the ruling party as well as the opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) to the inevitable effects of international competition.

That the U.S. beef issue is tied with the potential Taiwan-U.S. Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) makes government action to process the beef issue even more urgent.

Meanwhile, as some KMT legislators have voiced different opinions on plans to allow imports of U.S. beef, the Presidential Office and the KMT legislative caucus are cooperating to negotiate with all of the party’s legislators within the upcoming month, KMT Legislator Wu Yu-sheng (吳育昇) said yesterday. The deadline for final decisions in the Legislative Yuan to be made regarding the amendment drafts to the Act Governing Food Sanitation (食品衛生管理法) is in early June. A KMT legislative meeting at noon today will discuss whether the party should use disciplinary action to protect and promote the executive department’s U.S. beef policies, Wu said.

In the meantime, Council of Agriculture (COA) Minister Chen Bao-ji (陳保基) said that the Taiwanese delegation visiting slaughterhouses in the U.S. has been faithfully on the job — the group of seven will inspect a total of nine slaughterhouses along with feed suppliers and laboratories to ensure the safety of U.S. beef imported to Taiwan.