US pork imports a ‘non-issue,’ says Lin during interpellation


Source: China Post


June 4, 2016, 12:07 am TWN

TAIPEI — Premier Lin Chuan said in his first policy report to the Legislature on Friday that the question of whether to lift the ban on American pork imports containing traces of a leanness-enhancing drug was a non-issue.
He said the government will discuss the matter with local farmers, consumers and civic groups, taking into consideration food safety and the interests of Taiwan’s pig farmers, and will put forth a policy to help make the local pig farming industry more competitive.Until a scientific risk assessment can be carried out, however, the government will remain opposed to residues of the livestock leanness-enhancing drug ractopamine in U.S. pork imports, Lin said.

“Therefore, the question of whether to open the doors to imports of U.S. pork containing ractopamine is a non-issue,” he said.

In his 23-page report, Lin also addressed the issue of food products from northeastern Japan where a nuclear accident occurred in 2011.

He said the Taiwan government currently has no plans to relax the restrictions on imports of food from that area. The government will continue to closely follow the results of food inspections in Japan and the regulations applied by other countries to Japanese food imports, Lin said.

Taiwan’s decisions on imports of Japanese food products will be based on protecting the health of its people, he said.

On another issue pertaining to Japan, Lin said the U.N. Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS) has yet to determine the nature of Okinotori, so the waters around it remain in dispute.

In the meantime, he said, the Taiwan government will maintain its stance that Japan is not entitled to a 200-nautical mile exclusive economic zone around Okinotori and will continue to safeguard the rights of Taiwanese fishermen operating there.

However, Taiwan is willing to hold discussions with Japan as soon as possible to address the issue, Lin said.

The new premier presented his first report to the Legislature on Friday after a foiled attempt Tuesday when opposition Kuomintang lawmakers occupied the podium in protest against what they said was the government’s stance on the issues of U.S. pork, Japanese food imports and the Okinotori atoll.

The KMT lawmakers demanded that the premier sign a pledge not to lift a ban on U.S. pork containing leanness-enhancing drugs or on food products from nuclear-affected areas in Japan, before they would allow him to speak.

After adding three pages to his policy report to address the contentious issues, Lin was able to deliver the report Friday without any obstruction.

Commenting on the report, KMT caucus whip Lin Te-fu said it was not satisfactory but was acceptable.

The KMT will continue to monitor the government and will stick to its demands, he said.