Minister of Economic Affairs John Deng’s visit to Washington D.C. in mid-February, the first by an MOEA head in many years, was overshadowed by his announcement that bans on the import into Taiwan of six different types of beef products from the United States would be lifted.
The Council of Agriculture made the decision after experts ruled that products such as marrow and tallow were not internal organs – and thus were not covered by amendments passed by the Legislative Yuan in late 2009 to prohibit the import of such organs. Legislators from both sides of the aisle expressed outrage over the announcement. Local media interpreted the policy change as intended to gain U.S. support for Taiwan’s eventual inclusion in negotiations for membership in the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Denying any such link, the MOEA said it was coincidental that the timing of the announcement corresponded with Deng’s travel schedule.