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Premier: No room for mistakes in ASF prevention

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At the Cabinet's weekly meeting Thursday, Premier Su Tseng-chang thanked 14 government ministries and agencies for efforts this past year to keep Taiwan free of African swine fever (ASF). In the work of disease control, he reiterated, there is absolutely no room for negligence or oversight.

The premier's remarks came following a Council of Agriculture report on ASF prevention measures for the 2020 Lunar New Year holiday period.

Premier Su also thanked the Legislature for passing the Statute for Prevention and Control of Infectious Animal Disease on December 3 to close an internet shopping loophole. Agencies should raise public awareness of the new regulations and require strict adherence from online merchants and sellers. Violators will face heavy punishment.

As for foot-and-mouth disease (FMD), Taiwan ceased its FMD vaccination program for pigs over a year ago and has submitted an application to the World Organisation for Animal Health. If approved, Taiwan would be listed as an FMD-free zone without vaccination by May 2020 and could resume export of pork products. Exports to Japan alone could reach NT$55 billion (US$1.8 billion) annually, making for a huge industry.

China and the 10 neighboring countries affected by the epidemic are producing less pork for consumers, while Taiwan is a powerhouse for pork production with excellent farming technologies. The nation can look forward to a new market with bright potential, the premier said.

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