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Taiwan Election Candidates Discuss US Pork Imports

5 January 2016, at 12:00am

TAIWAN - The three election candidates for Taiwan's leadership engaged in a heated discussion about whether Taiwan should import pork from the United States that contains the leanness enhancer ractopamine.

The issue has remained hot since it was raised in the first televised debate on Dec 27 and was put forward again at Saturday's TV debate.

Eric Chu of the Kuomintang (KMT) argued that Taiwan should not rush to lift the ban on ractopamine since the Taiwanese consume much more pork than Europeans or Americans. He stressed that Taiwan should have its own standard for the acceptable level of ractopamine based on local dietary habits, reports China Daily.

James Soong of the People First Party (PFP) also expressed strong opposition to the imports, saying that the authorities should spare no effort to ensure food safety.

In the previous TV debate, Tsai Ing-wen of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) suggested that Taiwan adopt Japan and the Republic of Korea's standards. Her statement drew condemnation from the agricultural department and farmers who argued that opening the local market to US pork that contains ractopamine would endanger public health.

The island's association of pig farmers threatened to stage a protest rally if the ban was lifted.

During Saturday's debate, Tsai said it was too early to decide whether to lift the ban for it will need complicated negotiations and denied that she had made any promises to the US side.

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