Saviour Adugba, with wire report
Taiwan has given a boost to its chances of securing a free trade deal with the United States after the Asian country announced on Friday that it will be easing the restrictions placed on beef and pork imports from the US.
Taiwan has been looking for a free trade agreement with the US which is its most valuable support internationally, but the US has been cold on the deal due to the restriction on its pork and beef by the Taiwanese government, Reuters news agency reported, adding that Taiwan has said that the restriction was predicated on health considerations, pointing to concerns over additives and diseases.
Tsai Ing-Wen, Taiwan’s president, speaking on the ease of the restrictions noted that Taiwan plans to approve the import of American pork containing ractopamine; a leanness enhancing additive, as well as beef from the US more than 30 months old.
“The decision is in line with the country’s overall interests and the goals of the nation’s strategic development. It’s also a decision that could boost Taiwan-U.S. ties.
“If we can take one crucial step forward on the issue of U.S. pork and beef, it will be an important start for Taiwan-U.S. economic cooperation at all fronts,” he is quoted to have said.
Morgan Ortagus, a spokeswoman for the US State Department said that Taiwan’s decision to ease the restriction placed on US beef and pork was a welcome development, stating that the move will open the door to better trade cooperation and economic ties.
“We look forward to the timely implementation of these actions, which will provide greater access for U.S. farmers to one of East Asia’s most vibrant markets, and for Taiwan consumers to high-quality U.S. agricultural products,” Ortagus noted.
President Tsai knows that the free trade agreement might not happen overnight as she notes that it may “take a while,” but she states that she has a positive outlook on the matter. She also clarifies that the decision to ease the import restriction has nothing to with the US’ upcoming presidential election but she hailed the US as an “extremely important” trade partner for Taiwan.
Taiwanese Council of Agriculture Minister Chen Chi-Chung intimated that the ease of the import restriction on pork and beef is expected to start Jan 1 of next year.