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Taiwan lifts ban on Canadian beef-on-the-bone

Taiwan on Friday lifted a ban on imports of Canadian beef-on-the-bone as part of its efforts to promote investment talks with the country and its participation in regional trade blocs.

TAIPEIl Taiwan on Friday lifted a ban on imports of Canadian beef-on-the-bone as part of its efforts to promote investment talks with the country and its participation in regional trade blocs.

Under the new measure set to take effect in mid-February, imports from Canada of bone-in beef from cows under the age of 30 months or younger will be allowed, the economic ministry said.

Canadian and US beef imports were initially banned in 2003 in the wake of various mad cow disease scares though Taiwan has steadily lifted restrictions in recent years. Boneless Canadian beef has been able to be imported since 2007.

The ministry said it hoped its latest move would help promote negotiations with Canada on an investment agreement as well as paving the way for Taiwan to join the regional trade bloc, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

The announcement also comes as Taiwan and Canada, which do not have official diplomatic relations, are set to sign an agreement to avoid double taxation later this year.

The Canadian Trade Office in Taipei, the country's de facto embassy, welcomed the move, saying it "demonstrates clearly Taiwan's desire to further liberalise their economy and further integrate into the broader regional and global economy".

Taiwan is heavily reliant on beef from abroad with 94 percent of local consumption met by imports, according to the agriculture ministry.

Taiwan in 2007 partially removed a four-year-old ban on Canadian beef to allow boneless beef imports, despite opposition from consumer rights groups on concerns over mad cow disease.

The government also began easing restrictions on US beef imports in similar efforts to promote bilateral trade talks. US imports of boneless beef were allowed in 2006 while the ban on bone-in beef was lifted three years later.

In 2012, the country also permitted beef containing the controversial additive ractopamine despite strong opposition.

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