Controversy of American beef and pork took the center stage at the Legislative Yuan on the first day of the new session. Opposition lawmakers protested during Premier Su Tseng-chang's special report and called on the government to reopen negotiations with the United States.
Premier Su Tseng-chang briefed lawmakers on the Tsai administration's lifting of the import ban on U.S. pork and beef containing leanness-enhancing agent Ractopamine on the 18th as opposition lawmakers protested the decision. The Kuomintang caucus called for President Tsai Ing-wen to address the topic at the legislature.
Su told lawmakers Tsai had to lift the ban to improve bilateral trade relations and said it was overall a strategic move to benefit Taiwan's economy.
(Lifting the ban on American pork) was a major decision. It was a difficult decision. It was a courageous decision. This issue stalled (bilateral) trade talks and deeper cooperation. Therefore, we always hoped to be able to take this brave step forward.
New Power Party and Taiwan People's Party lawmakers blasted the Ministry of Health and Welfare for its conspicuous absence at every public hearing that has been held so far, saying this shows ministry officials are unwilling to face the public. The TPP in particular said it would send representatives to rural areas to hear what people have to say.
Opposition parties hope you can shoulder the burden of restarting talks with (U.S.) Department of State Under Secretary for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment Keith Krach. We welcome normalized, equal and dignified talks with the U.S.
Minister Chen Shih-chung has promised gradual inspections and 100 percent border inspections. What is the capacity of inspections, and what does "gradual" mean in this context?
In the face of opposition from all sides, Su guaranteed the government would ensure food safety and said manufacturers that lie on labels about the place of origin of the meat in their products will face fines of NT$3-4 million.