The United States
is urging Taiwan to
adopt internationally consistent standards as quickly as possible in its development
of food regulatory systems, American Institute in Taiwan
Director Stephen M. Young said Thursday.
Young made the remarks during a speech titled "U.S.
Taiwan Relations: Looking To The Future, Building On Past
Achievements," at a luncheon hosted by the American Chamber of
Commerce in Taiwan
at the Grand Formosa Regent Taipei.
Noting that the overall value of U.S. agricultural exports to Taiwan
has continued to grow for the sixth consecutive year, Young said,
however, "the agricultural market access problems remain at the
heart of our trade agenda."
He said that there are still major challenges ahead for
the further opening of Taiwan's
market to key U.S.
Nearly three years ago, Taiwan led Asia in re-opening its
market to imports of U.S. boneless beef, and since then Taiwanese
consumers have welcomed U.S. beef, buying US$107 million worth in 2007
alone, said Young.
However, he added, despite ample scientific evidence that
the imports of U.S. "bone-in" beef pose no safety risk, they
continue to be banned in Taiwan.
"Taiwanese consumers are confident that U.S. beef
is safe", Young stated.
Calling for Taiwan
to fully open its market to U.S.
beef, Young reminded Taiwan
that the transparent application of scientific principles consistent with
established international norms is the best way to ensure food safety
while facilitating trade.
seeks to expand its role in the global community, it should also live up
to its responsibilities as a member of that community," he advised.
He said that the U.S.
understands that the Department of Health of Taiwan (DOH) will soon
publish the findings of its risk assessments on the safety of U.S. beef products, adding that he hopes
the results will bring the U.S.
closer to the early, science-based opening of the market to the full
range of U.S.
Taiwan banned U.S. beef in 2003 when a case of
"bovine spongiform encephalopathy"(BSE), better known as mad
cow disease, was diagnosed in Seattle.
The ban was lifted in April 2005 to allow imports of U.S. de-boned beef
from cattle under 30 months old, but the Taiwan government re-imposed the
ban two months later when a second BSE case was discovered in the United
States. The DOH didn't lift the ban until Jan.25, 2006.
Taiwan currently only
allows the import of U.S.
boneless beef from cattle younger than 30 months, produced from
certificated slaughterhouses and without high risk parts such as brains
and spinal cord marrow.