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A Letter from Senator Baucus on the Beef Import Protocol

PR-1001E | Date: 1/4/2010

United States Senate
Committee on Finance
Washington, DC 20510-6200
December 31, 2009

President Ma Ying-jeou
Taipei City 10048, Taiwan
Republic of China

Dear President Ma:

I am writing to express my strong disappointment with Taiwan's failure to implement the beef import protocol signed by the United States and Taiwan on October 22, 2009. I am deeply concerned about reports that the Legislative Yuan plans to pass an amendment to Taiwan's Food Sanitation Act that would unjustifiably bar certain U.S. beef products and would abrogate the import protocol. I am also frustrated that Taiwan has unilaterally adopted "administrative border measures" that appear to run counter to Taiwan's commitments under the import protocol, and are, in some cases, disrupting shipments of deboned U.S. beef that Taiwan has been accepting since 2006. Taiwan's own risk assessment, the World Animal Health Organization (OIE), and numerous other studies have concluded that all U.S. beef is safe -- including ground beef, offals, and processed products. It is simply unacceptable that Taiwanese authorities continue to take actions that imply otherwise. I expect Taiwan to implement the import protocol in full.

These recent actions appear to be a continuation of a trend in Taiwan to obstruct U.S. agricultural imports, and they call into question Taiwan's credibility as a responsible trading partner. I last wrote to you in November 2008, noting my strong concerns with trade barriers to U.S. beef and pork. While I hoped the protocol signed in October would address trade barriers to U.S. beef, both problems persist one year later.

As a long-time friend and supporter of Taiwan in the U.S. Congress, I am troubled by the actions taken by the Legislative Yuan, and hope that the provisions of the proposed amendment to the Food Sanitation Act that are inconsistent with science and Taiwan's bilateral obligations will be removed. I will be monitoring developments very closely and I hope that there can be a positive resolution that allows Taiwan to maintain its credibility and reputation as a reliable trading partner for the United States.


Max Baucus Chairman