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Taiwanese U.S. Beef Import Restriction Referendum, 2010

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There will be a Taiwanese U.S. Beef Import Restriction Referendum in the coming year in Taiwan.

Taiwanese citizens turned in a petition with 130,000 signatures, when only 86,000 were needed for the approval of the referendum. This referendum seeks to restrict the import of U.S. beef products that are widely believed to carry bovine spongiform encephalopathy, also known as mad cow disease. While the Taiwan government and U.S. government assured consumers no beef would be imported with this disease, local governments still tried to enact restrictions on the importing of this beef. Local elections held the beginning of December reflected the resident's feelings as they voted out many of the standing party's members. There is conflict between the two ruling parties on the restriction of meats that pose high health risks to consumers.[1]

The government had banned the import of U.S. Beef due to the belief that some of it held the mad cow disease. Recently this ban was lifted and this has brought about the referendum. 200,000 signatures were turned in to get this referendum to a vote. If the petition passes this initial phase, 860,000 more signatures will be needed in order for the matter to get to a vote.[2]

The petition had passed the initial stage of signature gathering and is now looking to collect a further 860,000 signature in five months. Since they are able to obtain this next number then the government will set a date to have this measure brought to a vote.[3] The group has obtained 120,000 signatures, far more than the requirement and are urging talks with the US to obtain imported beef. The next signature threshold is 860,000 in six more months.[4]