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TIFA talks may resume by year end if beef row ends: official

Central News Agency 2012/05/31

TIFA talks may resume by year end if beef row ends: official

Taipei, May 31 (CNA) — Vice Economics Minister Francis Liang said Thursday if Taiwan can resolve its beef dispute with the United States, the two sides will be able to resume talks this year under the bilateral Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA).

Taiwan currently bans imports of U.S. beef containing the livestock leanness-enhancing drug ractopamine, but the U.S. has been pressing hard for Taiwan to lift the ban.

Liang’s remark came on the heels of a comment by Christopher Kavanagh, spokesman for American Institute in Taiwan (AIT), who said a day earlier that the beef issue was "the only factor which thwarted our efforts to resume the TIFA talks in 2010 and 2011."

The TIFA, which was signed in 1994, has been put on indefinite hold mainly because of the U.S.’ dissatisfaction with Taiwan’s beef ban.

Imports of U.S. beef have been a sore point in trade ties between Taipei and Washington for many years.

Taiwan first banned beef imports from the U.S. when a case of mad cow disease was reported in the state of Washington in December 2003, then re-opened its doors to imports of boneless U.S. beef from cattle under 30 months of age in April 2005.

It imposed another ban in June 2005 when a second case of mad cow disease case was reported in the U.S.

Imports of boneless beef from cattle under 30 months of age were resumed in 2006 and bone-in beef was granted entry in late 2009. But Washington has been pressing for wider opening and, more recently, has been lobbying strongly for Taiwan to lift its ban on beef containing ractopamine residues.

(By Huang Chiao-wen and Ann Chen)

 source: CNA