U.S. pork producers and those in Congress representing them breathed a collective sigh of relief after Taiwan’s voters rejected a renewed ban on ractopamine-treated pork, lifted ten years after one on treated beef.
Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley from the top pork-producing state argued just ahead of the vote, rejecting a new ban was key to expanding bilateral trade. “It would pave the way for our consideration of free trade agreements with Taiwan, make it a lot easier to pursue that.”
Trade leaders in and out of the Congress feared in the months leading up to the referendum a ‘yes’ vote would harm US-Taiwan trade relations, giving China a ‘win.’ according to U.S. Taiwan Business Council President Rupert Hammond-Chambers
“It’s a massive price to pay, and frankly, we’ve been paying it for 15-plus-years. The real big winner if this passes, is Beijing.” Hammond-Chambers warned a domestic political squabble over the issue was not worth the cost to Taiwan in lost international trust.
Back here, National Pork Producers Council head Jen Sorenson argued; “Banning an approved feed ingredient (are) not good for the competitiveness of U.S. farmers (and) in particular, pork producers.”
Taiwan may still try to keep out U.S. pork with labeling and inspections to protect its large domestic pork industry, but the broader bilateral trade relationship seen as a counterbalance to China, now seems brighter.