Taiwan opposition moves to block US meat imports

Taiwan’s Chinese Nationalist Party, the Kuomintang (KMT), will today begin canvassing its campaign for a referendum to block US meat

Taiwan Reuters

Photo: Reuters

Taiwan’s Chinese Nationalist Party, the Kuomintang (KMT), will today begin canvassing its campaign for a referendum to block US meat imports.

The proposed referendum comes after Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) President Tsai Ing-wen’s announcement last month that Taiwan will ease certain restrictions on pork and beef imports from the US starting in 2021. The debate over imports emerges as Taiwan and the US are expected to start high level talks that may serve as a precursor to a long-sought free trade deal later this month. The KMT—which traditionally favours closer ties with mainland China—is citing health concerns as the motivation for the referendum, but political considerations offer an alternative explanation. The DPP will defend its move to ease import restrictions as in-line with international health norms.

Regardless of the results of the proposed referendum, the possibility of increased economic cooperation between the US and Taiwan remains high as Tsai’s DPP controls both the presidency and the unicameral legislative Yuan and remains committed to boosting cooperation with the US.

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