Taiwan Must Drop 'Food Safety' Barriers

Senate Finance leadership says requirements may violate WTO rules.

Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont., and ranking member Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, on Wednesday wrote Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou, urging him to drop trade barriers to U.S. agricultural products that his government has imposed over food-safety concerns, particularly beef and pork.

Baucus and Grassley said the United States had imposed strict safety standards to prevent the spread of BSE and that the use of the food additive ractopamine in pork products had also been approved for use internationally. They wrote that the trade barriers appear to be based more on protecting Taiwan's domestic producers from fair competition than on legitimate safety issues.

"We were proponents of Taiwan's accession to the World Trade Organization," they wrote. "It is troubling that Taiwan is engaging in repeated abuses of food safety requirements designed to exclude U.S. agricultural imports from your market - actions that may violate WTO rules."

Baucus and Grassley went on to urge Taiwan to immediately remove all barriers to American farm products, beginning with Taiwan's nonscientific restrictions on U.S. beef and ractopamine-treated pork. They said Taiwan must treat U.S. products fairly if they wish to remain a strong, consistent economic partner with the United States.

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