The particulars of this thing can get kind of confusing (to me, at least). The original dispute, back in 2012, was about ractopamine in beef, and there was a legislative boycott (or really, maybe several boycotts, but one is complicated enough) by the DPP (Democratic Progressive Party), the PFP (People First Party), and the TSU (Taiwan Solidarity Union):
[quote]If the opposition’s boycott of legislative proceedings continues today — the final day of the current legislative session — the Executive Yuan should lift the import ban [on ractopamine laced beef] via an executive order, KMT caucus whip Wu Yu-sheng (吳育昇) told a press conference yesterday morning.[/quote]–Shih Hsiu-chuan and Chris Wang, “Executive order on beef issue proposed,” Taipei Times, June 15, 2012
taipeitimes.com/News/front/a … 2003535359
[quote]At 6pm, the statutory time for the end of the legislative session, legislators led by the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and supported by the People First Party (PFP) and Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) — holding 46 seats in the 113-seat legislature — cheered their “victory” at preventing a vote on the relaxation of rules governing imports of beef containing residues of the livestock leanness-enhancing agent ractopamine.[/quote]–Shih Hsiu-chuan, “Five-day boycott prevents vote on additives in beef,” Taipei Times, June 16, 2012
taipeitimes.com/News/front/a … 2003535447
Then the situation changed:
[quote]. . . the adoption earlier this week of maximum residue levels for the leanness-enhancement drug ractopamine by the [UN] Codex Alimentarius Commission . . . is likely to result in a decision by the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) to end its ongoing legislative boycott of a vote on the import of US beef products containing the agent.[/quote] --J. Michael Cole, “Fixing the economy, one bold step at a time,” The Far Eastern Sweet Potato (blog), July 11, 2012
fareasternpotato.blogspot.tw/201 … -time.html
Mr. Cole’s prediction was accurate:
[quote]After maximum residue levels for ractopamine in beef and pork were ratified by the Codex Alimentarius Commission — the international food safety body — earlier this month, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) backed down from its boycott strategy and said it would “put forward its own proposal for a vote,” according to caucus whip Ker Chien-ming (柯建銘).[/quote]–Shih Hsiu-chuan, “Vote on what to vote about expected today,” Taipei Times, July 25, 2012
taipeitimes.com/News/front/a … 2003538568
As noted above, the opposition parties’ legislative boycott ended after the Codex Alimentarius Commission set standards for ractopamine levels in beef and pork. But I think it should also be noted that the Commission passed the standards by a slim margin:
[quote]The limits were approved with 69 votes for, 67 against, and seven abstentions.[/quote]–“UN food safety body sets limits on veterinary growth promoting drug,” Web site of the UN Food and Agricultural Organization, July 6, 2012
In March of the following year (2013), the United States complained that Taiwan had not set an allowable ractopamine limit for pork. So far, I haven’t found any English-language statements by Tsai Ing-wen from back then on whether there should be a ban on imports of pork containing ractopamine. But I did see what appears to be a request that she made to the administration:
[quote]Asked about the US pork debate, former Democratic Progressive Party chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) urged the government to elaborate further on its pork import policy and explain what measures it would take in response to “international” pressure.[/quote]–Staff and CNA, “US report outlines bilateral trade issues,” Taipei Times, March 5, 2013
taipeitimes.com/News/taiwan/ … 2003556332
About two weeks before Saturday’s election, KMT Culture and Communications Committee director-general Lin Yi-hua (林奕華) accused Tsai Ing-wen of flip-flopping on the ractopamine-pork import issue in that, according to Lin, (1) she visited the Legislative Yuan and gave support to the opposition’s boycott of the ractopamine-beef import vote, and in that, according to Lin, (2):
[quote]. . . following a meeting with US Trade Representative officials during her June visit to the US, Tsai’s attitude on the issue of US pork imports took a complete U-turn, Lin said.
“Has Tsai reached some kind of agreement with the US? Did she sell out Taiwan?” Lin asked, urging Tsai to explain the apparent shift in her stance.[/quote]–Stacy Hsu, “KMT criticizes Tsai for making a U-turn on US pork imports,” Taipei Times, January 1, 2016
taipeitimes.com/News/front/a … 2003636153
Eric Chu apparently made a similar accusation during the debates, and Tsai responded (I think that a few posts above this one, hansioux referred to this response of Tsai’s, or to a similar response of hers):
[quote]Vowing she would protect local pig farmers, Tsai responded by stating that pork was not up for discussion when she met with USTR officials and that her party had moved toward support the easing of import restrictions after the establishment of an international standard on ractopamine (Codex standard). She also added that it was too early to consider pork imports as they relate to Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations.[/quote]–Yuan-Ming Chiao, “Candidates lock horns on pork, wages,” China Post, January 3, 2016
chinapost.com.tw/taiwan/nati … s-lock.htm
Now, as you can tell by the mention of pig farmers here, there has probably been more going on than what this poor sketch of mine can show, and by “more going on,” I don’t mean that it’s necessarily limited to the issue or issues brought up by the local farmers. And neither do I mean that I know what’s going on.
But to get some sense of the farmers’ issue(s), you can just copy this and paste it into Google (no need for quotation marks):
As I said at the beginning of this post, the particulars of the dispute are somewhat confusing to me.
But whatever the particulars are, I certainly believe that the Taiwanese people have the right to decide what kinds of food they’re going to grant or refuse entry into their country.