The National Pork Producers Council has expressed its strong objection to the U.S. re-opening Trade and Investment Framework Agreement negotiations with Taiwan because of that country’s continued failure to lift a ban on ractopamine use in pork production.

The Taiwanese parliament recently voted to ease restrictions on U.S. beef imports from cattle produced with ractopamine, but left the ban in place on pork produced with the same product. Ractopamine is a dietary additive used to improve the feed efficiency, growth rate and lean carcass percentage of live hogs and cattle. It has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and by the food-safety agencies in 24 other countries. The U.N.’s Codex Alimentarius, which sets international standards for food products, has approved a maximum residue limit for ractopamine, which U.S. pork meets.


The council asked U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to make clear to Taiwan that lifting the ractopamine ban for beef only will not prompt the U.S. to re-open agreement talks with Taiwan. The Trade and Investment Framework Agreement provides a framework for expanding trade and resolving trade disputes between countries. The pork organization also urged the U.S. officials to “up the ante” on Taiwan by indicating that the U.S. will not support the Asian nation’s entry into negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a regional trade pact, until it drops its ractopamine ban on pork imports.

If Taiwan were to lift the ractopamine ban on pork imports, U.S. pork exports to that country would increase to $417 million within 10 years, according to Iowa State University economist Dermot Hayes. Just $53.8 million of U.S. pork was shipped to Taiwan in 2011.