Concerns raised over Taiwan’s decision to reject US pork

By Georgi Gyton

- Last updated on GMT

Taiwan is not backing down on ractopamine ban
Taiwan is not backing down on ractopamine ban

Related tags World trade organization International trade Livestock Pork

A US ambassador to the World Trade Organization (WTO) voiced concerns about Taiwan’s decision to reject certain US pork imports at a meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, last week.

According to US association the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC), US ambassador Michael Punke raised the country’s refusal to accept US pork imports from hogs which had been fed ractopamine - a feed drug which boosts feed efficiency, growth rate and lean carcase percentage in live hogs and cattle.

While it has been approved for use in hogs by the US Food and Drug Administration, it is a banned product in a number of countries, including Russia and the European Union.

Taiwan is currently pressing the US to start Bilateral Investment Agreement negotiations as it looks to potentially join the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), however this could prove to be a sticking point.

The Taiwanese government voted to ease restrictions on US beef imports from cattle produced with ractopamine in 2012, said the NPPC, however it left in place a ban on pork produced using the same product.

While the US exported more than 18,000 metric tonnes of pork and pork products to Taiwan in 2013, the NPPC said that analysis by Iowa State University economist Dermot Hayes showed "the quantity and value of pork exported to Taiwan is far below the potential that the United States could export if the ractopamine ban were removed".

The NPPC has been pushing for Taiwan to lift the ractopamine ban on pork for a number of years,

According to the Taipei Times, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs in Taiwan this week dismissed the claims that the ban was a major trade barrier and could affect the US’s position on Taiwan’s membership of the TPP, amid "no pork, no talk"​ rumours.

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