Taiwan has begun talks with the US in hopes of creating a free trade agreement after reporting that it is easing restrictions on pork and beef imports from the US. The island is trying to tighten its bond with the US amidst rising tensions between the US and China.
Taiwan has been attempting to seal a free trade deal with the US for some time now. However, Washington has expressed concerns over the barriers to entry for US beef and pork. In response, Taiwan claimed that it was due to health concerns over additives and mad cow disease.
According to Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-Wen, the government has finally decided to permit US pork imports into the country. These pork imports will contain an additive called ractopamine, which will boost leanness. Moreover, it will also allow US beef that is over 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-US ties...If we can take one crucial step forward on the issue of US pork and beef, it will be an important start for Taiwan-US economic cooperation at all fronts,” President Tsai Ing-wen stated.
In response, Morgan Deann Ortagus, the spokesperson for the US Department of State, also stated that the US was delighted by this move, and getting rid of trade limitations and restrictions will lead the path to better economic and trade cooperation.
“We look forward to the timely implementation of these actions, which will provide greater access for US farmers to one of East Asia’s most vibrant markets, and for Taiwan consumers to high-quality US agricultural products,” Ortagus responded.
In addition, trade between the two reached $85.5 billion in 2019, making Taiwan the US’s 10th largest goods trading partner. Thus, even though it may take some time to finalize the deal, the possible benefits the new agreement offers look very promising so far.
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