Representative office in US denies promising resolution of beef issue


WASHINGTON–Taiwan’s representative office in the United States denied yesterday that it had ever made any promise about the resolution of a beef trade dispute between the two countries.

Officials at the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office (TECRO) said the office mainly serves as a bridge between Taipei and Washington and “cannot give any commitment to anyone from the U.S. side” on the beef issue.

They were responding to a report by International Community Radio Taipei, in which U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley from Iowa complained about Taiwan’s delay in lifting a ban on U.S. beef imports containing residues of the livestock leanness-enhancing drug ractopamine.

Grassley said President Ma Ying-jeou, through Taiwan representative Jason Yuan, promised him a year ago that the beef issue would be resolved after the country’s Jan. 14, 2012 presidential election.

“And the presidential election is over, we are still getting the same comments about how hard it is to do,” the senator was quoted as saying.

According to TECRO officials, Yuan last met Grassley in February this year at the National Prayer Breakfast, during which Grassley raised his concern over the matter.

Yuan, in response, said his office would convey Grassley’s message to Taiwan’s Council of Agriculture in the hope that a resolution can be worked out soon, the official said.