Taiwan – Who Does BAPHIQ Think They Are?
Among all the nations of the earth, only Taiwan insists that their own authorities come to the US to inspect our pet food manufacturing facilities (at the manufacturer’s expense) in order to become certified for export. Why is it that every other country allows APHIS (the US Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service) to inspect on their behalf? And, just as importantly, why is it that the US government refused to stand up to Taiwan when they initiated this ridiculous regulation? I know that PFI (Pet Food Institute) asked our quasi-embassy in Taiwan (the American Institute in Taiwan – AIT) not to agree to these changes but we acquiesced anyway.
And as time has passed, BAPHIQ (Taiwan’s Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine) has made registering a manufacturing facility even more difficult. If everything goes well, it will only take two years to complete the registration process!! Two years! If, everything goes well. Since the initial round of approvals in 2003, only one more US manufacturing facility has been approved.
It is time that the US government took a stand on this. Taiwan is in no position to make any regulations that hinder our free access to their market. Taiwan is completely dependent on the US market for their economic survival. Just as importantly, Taiwan is totally dependent upon us for their existence as a nation as it is the US that provides Taiwan’s security blanket. Right now our relations with China are stressed because we are providing defensive weapons to Taiwan.
And do not get me wrong; I love Taiwan. I lived there for six years, speak the language, love the people, and I love the food (and Shaohsing). But, too many of our clients are barred from entering the Taiwan market and this has got to stop. Taiwan authorities must reduce their import restrictions and loosen their registration requirements. If the Taiwanese authorities will not do it on their own, then our government should begin applying serious pressure on Taiwan. How about a simple quid pro quo? That should get the ball rolling.
In the meantime, think before you purchase that next food, treat or toy or accessory from Taiwan. Isn’t it time we had equal access to their market.