03/20/12 Last week, Congressman Donnelly announced that he and colleagues sent a letter to U.S. Trade Representative, Ambassador Ron Kirk and U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Honorable Tom Vilsack to urge them to stand up for America’s beef and pork producers against protectionist trade policies.

Specifically, the letter expressed concern about the restrictions that Taiwan recently placed on beef and pork imports from the U.S. Taiwan has increased inspections of U.S. beef and pork products over the past year. These inspections are not based on scientific data or standards, yet they have negatively affected consumer perception of U.S. beef and pork products in Taiwan. Exports of U.S. beef and pork products to Taiwan have declined.

“Taiwan’s import standards for U.S. pork and beef products should be based in science, not politics,” said Donnelly. “Their protectionist trade policies are hurting Indiana’s agriculture sector. Hoosier farmers are raising the hogs and cattle that drive our economy and strengthen our local communities. We need to level the playing field for them in the global economy to help our economic recovery at home.”

The full text of the letter is below.

Ambassador Ron Kirk                                                                                     Hon. Tom Vilsack

United States Trade Representative                                                       Secretary of Agriculture

600 17th Street, NW                                                                                       1400 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20508                                                                                   Washington, DC 20250

Dear Ambassador Kirk and Secretary Vilsack:

We are writing to you with strong concern regarding the non-science-based restrictions that Taiwan has placed on beef and pork imports from the United States.  For over a year, Taiwan has unjustifiably increased inspections of US beef and pork products in search of residues from feed additives. These inspections, which are not based on scientific data or standards, have tainted consumer perception of US beef and pork products in Taiwan and have caused a significant decline in exports. We are concerned that if this issue remains unresolved, it will continue to have negative consequences for our constituents who work in the beef and pork industries.

We are pleased with President Ma’s recent announcement that resolving these outstanding issues is a priority for his government, and we encourage you to work with Taiwan to find a science-based, market-driven resolution to this issue. The removal of non-tariff trade barriers like this will allow our producers to continue providing safe beef and pork products to consumers in Taiwan without interference from domestic political factions. However, further toleration of Taiwan’s unnecessary restrictions sets a dangerous precedent for the mistreatment of US products and undermines our efforts to establish objective, internationally-recognized science-based standards for US exports. We encourage Taiwan to allow science, not politics, to determine import standards for US pork and beef products.

We appreciate your leadership on this issue, and urge you to continue to stand up for America’s beef and pork producers against protectionist trade policies.  We look forward to working with you to resolve this issue and restoring a strong trade relationship with Taiwan.