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Taiwan and China are still going through the 12th round of negotiations over the cross-strait trade in goods agreement. Taiwan representative Yang Jen-ni, director-general of the Bureau of Foreign Trade (BOFT), says we have already achieved a major breakthrough regarding the issue of custom clearance procedures and food safety inspection on November 21.

Yang also hopes to establish a computerized information exchange system that can be used to approve an import permit within 48 hours after receiving a clearance application. Legislator Lin Shu-fen criticizes the 48-hour clearance treatment is feeding Taiwanese people poison.

As for the sanitary and phytosanitary measures (SPS), Yang says both sides agree if either side requests to see related phytosanitary information of the goods, the other side will have to provide the documents.

UDN reports, Yang says that the two chapters regarding customs and food safety inspection are vital because many Taiwanese businesses export agricultural products and food to China. Now both sides have reached a consensus on these two parts.

Liberty Times reports, the Economic Democracy Union notes in a Facebook post that the intense 48-hour limit will reduce the number of inspections. Moreover, it will lead to cases like the owner of the imported goods signing agreements to release their products and will bring serious harm to food safety.

Legislator Lin Shu-fen criticizes on Facebook that the Ma government imports many high-risk foods, such as lean meat, beef origins from mad cow disease endemic areas, fish products from radiation-contaminated areas in Japan, Chinese tea that residues pesticide and so on.

In addition, with the import of these high-risk foods, the items that need inspection will increase and will add on to the working load of customs officials. The officials already work overtime frequently and this will ultimately make them only have time to merely review the document papers to certify the goods, rather than actually inspect the products.

Lin says, food made in China is famous for its high-risk food safety, but now our government endeavors to import them within 48 hours, let alone the inspection will be conducted by temporary employees, which is “unbelievably ridiculous and unreliable."

Translated by June
Edited by Olivia Yang