TAIPEI, Taiwan - Beef chop suey is not considered internal organs and therefore, it is unreasonable to prohibit its import, said Economics Minister John Deng, who is currently visiting Washington, D.C.
Beef chop suey refers to six specific beef parts: bone marrow, blood vessels, skull flesh, cheek flesh, esophageal muscles and tallow. The Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) is currently considering approving American imports of beef chop suey in an attempt to gain membership in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) framework.
The Act Governing Food Safety and Sanitation bars the import of beef internal organs. After a professional evaluation concluded that beef chop suey is not beef internal organs, the government moved to conduct a food safety analysis of the product, and the results showed there are few or no food safety concerns.
After studying relevant import and export rules and conducting discussions on the issue with the competent authorities, the MOEA will make a public announcement to further clarify issues surrounding beef imports.
Taiwan Must Deal with US Requests: Deng
Deng said he is not in Washington to discuss specific issues; instead, the purpose of his trip is to communicate Taiwan's future policy directions.
The relationship between meat imports and Taiwan joining the TPP framework depends very much on the attitude of decision makers in the US, Deng said. If the US insists on resolving the beef issue before moving on to discuss Taiwan's TPP membership, it is something that "Taiwan must face," Deng said.
However, the government wants to resolve all controversial issues during TPP negotiations, which is an easier route and offers greater room for exchange, Deng said.
Deng, who arrived in the US earlier this week, is the first economics minister to visit the country in 11 years. He will meet with US officials and lawmakers during his stay to push for Taiwan's membership in the TPP, hopefully securing Taiwan's attendance in the second round of TPP negotiations.
ROC Qualifies as High-standard Trade Partner: Deng
Economic liberalization is a road that potentially offers great opportunities to Taiwan. After establishing free trade agreements with Singapore and New Zealand, Taiwan grants zero tariff on 90 per cent of products from those two countries.
It is a testimony that Taiwan can be a high-standard trade partner, and as such, Taiwan should be allowed to join the TPP framework, Deng said.
Taiwan is ranked as the 19th largest economy in the world. It is also the US' 10th largest trading partner. In an effort to join the TPP, Taiwan has continuously been making amendments to local regulations, trying to contribute to the Asia-Pacific's economic prosperity. Taiwan hopes that the US will support Taiwan to realise its goal, Deng said.