U.S. hopes for progress on pork, beef imports in Tsai 2nd term

AIT Chairman James Moriarty speaks at a conference in Washington D.C. on Jan. 11, 2020. (CNA)
AIT Chairman James Moriarty speaks at a conference in Washington D.C. on Jan. 11, 2020. (CNA)

TAIPEI (The China Post/ANN) — James Moriarty, chairman of the Board of Trustees of the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT), told reporters on Jan. 11 that “the U.S. hopes for progress” on U.S. pork and beef imports to Taiwan during President Tsai Ing-wen’s second term in office.

Moriarty made the comment on the sidelines of a conference on Taiwan’s elections organized in Washington D.C. by the Global Institute Taiwan (GTI) and Project 2049 Institute.

Asked whether the U.S. government wants to see the issue of U.S. pork and beef imports resolved overt the next 4 years, Moriarty said that the U.S. hopes for progress though it is hard to predict what will happen.

“Pork and beef (imports), as we all know, has been a traditional issue that we think needs to be addressed,” said the chairman of the AIT, a non-profit, private corporation largely funded by U.S. State Department, representing U.S. interests in Taiwan in the absence of official diplomatic ties.

Hung Chung-hsiu (洪忠修), director-general of the Council of Agriculture’s (COA, 農委會) Department of International Affairs, the government agency-in-charge of the issue, told The China Post that Taiwan policy “remains unchanged.”

Last year, the U.S. cited Taiwan’s restrictions on imports of pork and beef from the United States as a major barrier to trade between the two sides.

Of all pork imports in 2018, 43 percent came from Canada, making it Taiwan’s largest pork supplier, according to COA statistics. American pork ranked fourth at 13 percent.

For reference, Taiwan agreed to expand market access and fully reopen its market to all U.S. beef and processed beef products in 2009.

The government back-pedaled on the agreement in 2010, however, and amended its Food Sanitation Act which restricted the import of some types of beef and beef products.

U.S. pork has also been banned in the country for more than 10 years for containing ractopamine, a drug used to promote leanness in animals raised for their meat.