House lawmakers recently wrote a letter to USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack and U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk about Taiwan’s restrictions on American pork and beef treated with ractopamine – an agent given to hogs and cattle to promote lean muscle growth. Representative Denny Rehberg of Montana says American beef and pork products are the best and safest in the world. Rehberg says the Taiwanese government is using pseudo-science to duck free-trade laws – unfairly penalizing U.S. producers. Increased inspections of U.S. meat by the Taiwanese government has caused sales to decline – costing American ranchers and hog farmers millions of dollars – according to the lawmakers.
Lawmakers are calling for Taiwan to drop the trade restrictions just days after Taiwan Premier Sean Chen said his government would continue rejecting pork treated with ractopamine – but accept some beef treated by the same drug. Pork is a bigger issue for Taiwan – as more Taiwanese consumers purchase more pork.