ISSUE 56                                                                             September 10, 2020
Taiwan Weekly
Reliable report and analysis of the most important issues in Taiwan
In This Issue
● This Week in Taiwan: 
Other Important Events This Week


Local Governments in Taiwan Resist Import of U.S. Pork Containing Ractopamine
Without prior communication, President Tsai Ing-wen unilaterally announced that Taiwan will lift import restrictions on U.S. pork containing ractopamine, sparking widespread backlash. Local governments affiliated with the opposition Kuomintang (KMT) will adhere to a policy of detecting zero residual ractopamine. In other words, the standard used by some local governments will be stricter than that of the central government.
(Photo from: United Daily News)
Featured News

Amid Controversial Lift of Import Restrictions on U.S. Pork Containing Ractopamine, Officials Call for Consumption of Taiwanese Pork

News Compiled and Reported by   Taiwan Weekly


On August 28, President Tsai Ing-Wen made an announcement that Taiwan will lift import restrictions on American pork containing ractopamine, as well as beef of cattle over 30 months of age. This has drawn criticism from all sides. On the morning of August 31, the Kuomintang (KMT) Caucuses of 22 local county and city councils simultaneously held a nationwide press conference, regarding the “Reject of U.S. Pork Containing Ractopamine to Safeguard Public Health.” In addition to resolutely opposing opening-up the market, the press conference also announced that the law will be amended to include the non-detection of beta receptors in pork and pork products into the local food safety regulations.


On September 5, the Ministry of Health and Welfare further announced the standards for ractopamine residue. Except for the original liver, kidney, fat, and muscle standards set by the Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC), other edible parts are subject to detection and the limit set is 0.01 parts per million (ppm). This indicates that imports would include all parts of the pig. In response, experts have criticized the Ministry of Health and Welfare for its incomplete assessment and rash decision making.

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Featured Editorial
As many as 160 countries, including mainland China, ban the use of ractopamine as a livestock additive. But Taiwan has succumbed to the pressure of the United States and will open up to imports of American pork containing ractopamine.
(Photo from: United Daily News)

China Can Import Ractopamine-Free U.S. Pork, Why Can’t Taiwan?

United Daily News Editorial, September 3, 2020


Among the arguments of imported pork from the United States over the impact to public health and local pork farmers, there is one overlooked fact worth our concern. That is, in recent two years there are more and more pork farmers in the United States have stopped using ractopamine as the additive to feed its livestock, the ratio is now over 62 percent. If ractopamine-free has become the mainstream of pig-raising industry in the United States, Taiwan certainly may open market for U.S. pork under the condition of pork-meat without ractopamine. With this understanding in mind, the general public may have a new mindset to discuss issues related to the import of American pork.


Ironically, the main reason that made American pig farmers stop using ractopamine was by the pressure of huge market demand of mainland China. The African Swine Fever infected China in 2018, and it shortly spread to many provinces, thus made a huge shortage of pork supply for the Chinese market. The pork-meat industries in the United States noticed this business opportunity, but realized that mainland China has banned ractopamine as an additive. Therefore, the U.S. pork industry greatly changed its method of pig-feeding and requested contract pig-raising farms to stop using ractopamine as an additive, in order to fit the import regulations of mainland China.

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Featured Editorial
Spokesman Ting Yi-ming of the Executive Yuan said that there is no market for frozen U.S. pork viscera in Taiwan. But if women recuperating from childbirth were to consume pork liver and kidneys, families may find themselves in discord, Ting said. 
(Photo from: United Daily News)

Sudden Lift of U.S. Pork Import Restrictions: Will Our People Sacrifice Family Happiness Too? 

United Daily News, September 3, 2020


Executive Yuan Spokesman Ting Yi-ming said in today’s press conference after the Cabinet meeting that the U.S. frozen pork viscera is not to Taiwan’s taste and no business would import them to Taiwan. Therefore, there is little chance that postpartum women would consume pork liver or kidney from the United States. If postpartum women happen to eat them, their family happiness will probably be affected. Can the Tsai administration effectively ban the “laundering of place of origin” to prevent mixing up of U.S. pork with domestic pork? Is it true that we can only count on ourselves for our own health and our family happiness?


The sneak announcement of President Tsai Ing-wen to lift restrictions on U.S. pork and beef import has caused a huge uproar in Taiwan. While the Tsai administration is doing everything to put out the fire, the contradictory policy explanations and asynchronous measures are an embarrassment revealing a serious lack of coordination among different government agencies.

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This Week in Taiwan
President of the Senate Miloš Vystrčil of the Czech Republic led a delegation which visited Taiwan. In his speech at the Legislative Yuan, Vystrčil stated "I am a Taiwanese" to express his support for Taiwan's democracy.
(Photo from: China Times)

August 31: The American Institute in Taiwan declassified two 1982 telegrams related to arms sales to Taiwan. They reveal that the capability and quantity of weapons provided to Taiwan is dependent upon the military threat posed by the People's Republic of China. If China were to threaten regional security by adopting a hostile or aggressive position or establish military projection capabilities, the United States will increase arms sales with Taiwan. 


September 1: The Chinese Military capability report published by the Ministry of Defense on August 31 indicates that the People's Liberation Army (PLA) is currently strengthening its military communications ability, which along the southeastern coast of mainland China can paralyze Taiwan's air, sea, and counter defense systems and poses a grave danger to Taiwan. 

A latest military assessment of China released by the Pentagon on September 1 indicates that the PLA has the world's largest navy equipped with more than 200 nuclear warheads. China's capability in ship-building, ballistic and cruise missile development and integrated air defense systems are on par or even superior to that of the United States. 


September 2: The Executive Yuan released a new design of Taiwan's passport cover, reducing the font size of "Republic of China" in English, wrapping the official name across the national emblem, and enlarging significantly "Taiwan" in English. The new design is expected to be issued in January 2021. 

At the press conference, Minister of Foreign Affairs explained that this was done to avoid people mistaking us to be "Chinese." The Kuomintang (KMT) criticized the passport cover revision as a conscious attempt by the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) to intensify political differences on national identity. The move does not help Taiwan's international standing at all and only exposes the narrow-mindedness of the DPP's governance.  


September 3: The Ministry of Economic Affairs has announced a new regulation forbidding agents and distributors for mainland Chinese over-the-top streaming media services in Taiwan, effectively immediately. Agent OTT Entertainment announced that it would terminate its agency arrangement to sell iQiyi membership services. OTT Entertainment Chairman Fan Li-da stated that he feels reluctant about the ban but will comply. The company will take responsibility for consumer rights before the ban takes effect.


September 4: President of the Senate Miloš Vystrčil of the Czech Republic delivered a speech at the Legislative Yuan on September 1. In his address, Vystrčil quoted the famous "Ich bin ein Berliner" line of U.S. President John F. Kennedy, then stated "I am a Taiwanese" to express his support to the people of Taiwan. Vystrčil is the first legislative speaker from a country which is not a diplomatic ally to speak before the Legislative Yuan. He concluded his six-day visit to Taiwan on the evening of September 4. Before his departure, Vystrčil expressed that the Czech Republic and Taiwan have realized a consensus on freedom and democracy, and he looks forward to establishing direct flights between the two countries. 


September 5: Carry Mask, which is part of Taiwan's so-called "national mask production team" was revealed to have imported 3.37 million pieces of non-medical grade face masks from mainland China, changed their labeling, and mixed them with domestic Taiwanese medical face masks to sell throughout various locations in Taipei, New Taipei, and Yilan. The Ministry of Health and Welfare ordered the company's plant in New Taipei to shut down. After an interview by the prosecution, the company's leader Lin Ming-chin was released on a NT$3.5 million (about $119,000) bail. 


September 6: The KMT's cross-strait policy discourse, which has gone through much discussion and controversy, passed in the National Party Congress. Under the 1992 Consensus based upon the Republic of China (ROC) Constitution, The KMT aims to continue cross-strait interactions, oppose Taiwan independence and "one Country, Two Systems," and call upon the Chinese mainland to renounce the use of force against Taiwan. Chairman Johnny Chiang declared that the KMT's core value is to defend the ROC.

Taiwan Weekly is a newsletter released every week by Fair Winds Foundation, Association of Foreign Relations, and Taipei Forum which provides coverage and perspectives on the latest developments in Taiwan.

The conclusions and recommendations of any Taiwan Weekly article are solely those of its author(s), and do not reflect the views of the institutions that publish the newsletter.

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