U.S. Ambassador to the World Trade Organization Michael Punke last week at a meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, voiced concerns about Taiwan's refusal to accept U.S. pork imports from hogs fed ractopamine, the National Pork Producers Council said in a policy update Friday.
Punke's comments come as Taiwan is pressing the United States to initiate Bilateral Investment Agreement negotiations and as it starts to talk about eventually joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
Although the Taiwanese parliament voted in 2012 to ease restrictions on U.S. beef imports from cattle produced with ractopamine, it left in place the ban on pork produced with the same product.
Ractopamine is a feed ingredient that improves the feed efficiency, growth rate and lean carcass percentage of live hogs and cattle. It has been approved for use in hogs by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and by the food-safety agencies in 25 other countries.
In 2012, the U.N.'s Codex Alimentarius, which sets international standards for food safety, approved a maximum residue limit for ractopamine, which U.S. pork meets.
In 2013, the United States exported more than 18,000 metric tons of pork and pork products to Taiwan, valued at $40.3 million.
According to an analysis by Iowa State University economist Dermot Hayes, the quantity and value of pork exported to Taiwan is far below the potential that the United States could export if the ractopamine ban were removed.
Source: National Pork Producers Council