The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) has written to trade officials objecting to the re-opening of Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) negotiations with Taiwan, pointing out that the Taiwanese parliament has eased restrictions for beef produced from cattle-fed ractopamine, but has left pork restrictions in place.
It called on government officials to make it clear to Taiwan that the US would only re-open TIFA talks with Taiwan if it lifts the ractopamine ban for pork as well as beef.
“Failing to lift the ractopamine ban for pork was not an inadvertent omission,” said NPPC president RC Hunt. “It is nothing more than a ploy by the Taiwanese government to bring the US back to the TIFA negotiating table.
“In Taiwan, pork production is much more important than beef, and pork producers have much more political clout. This, and only this, explains the decision to lift the ractopamine ban on beef but not on pork.”
NPPC also called on US officials to warn Taiwan that the US would not support its entry into the Trans-Pacific Partnership unless it drops the ractopamine ban on pork imports.
“We believe it is time for the US to explore all potential means, including legal tools, of getting the Taiwanese to open their market,” said Hunt.
Ractopamine is a dietary additive that helps improve feed efficiency, growth rate and lean carcases for pigs and cattle. The US pork industry says that if Taiwan were to lift its ban on the substance, US pork exports to the Asian country would increase to $417m within 10 years, up from just $53.8m in 2011.
The UN’s Codex Alimentarius recently approved a maximum residue limit (MRL) for ractopamine, which US pork exports meet.