Newspaper article China Post

End to Beef Row Vital to FTA with US: Stanton

Newspaper article China Post

End to Beef Row Vital to FTA with US: Stanton

Article excerpt

Taiwan must undertake serious reform efforts, including solving the U.S. beef issue, to significantly ease trade barriers if it wants to sign a free trade agreement (FTA) with Washington and stay competitive in the global market, the outgoing de facto U.S. ambassador to Taiwan said yesterday.

In his last speech at an American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) luncheon as the director of American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) Taipei Office, William Stanton said he knew that Taiwan has expressed the desire to sign an FTA with the U.S. and ultimately join the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

The AIT head said, however, Taiwan has to be more open to U.S. products and to engage in further trade liberalization first if it wants to accomplish these tasks.

"Taiwan must undertake a serious reform effort to make its economy more open in order to stay competitive in a fast-changing world market," Stanton said.

He specifically pointed out that the U.S. beef issue has become a symbolic embodiment of Taiwan's protected market.

He noted that ractopamine is a food additive commonly and safely used in the U.S. and in many countries around the world.

"Unfortunately, critics (in Taiwan) quickly seized the issue and misrepresented the facts ... (misinforming the) Taiwanese people on the safety of U.S. beef ... for pure political gain," he added.

Beef has now become a hostage in domestic political battles in Taiwan's Legislative Yuan, which could affect Taiwan-U.S. relations and Taiwan's relations with the rest of the trading world, he noted.

To solve the issue, Taiwan requires strong political leadership, the AIT head said, adding that he is encouraged to learn that President Ma Ying-jeou has recognized the importance of solving the issue by pushing the establishment of a safe residue standard of ractopamine in U.S. beef.

Resolving the beef row will provide Taiwan a chance to show its commitment to free trade based global cooperation, especially with the U.S. in possibly signing an FTA, he added. …

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