Thu, May 18, 2006 - Page 11 News List

Beijing bemoans fake Taiwanese fruit

AGENCIES , BEIJING

China, where pirated copies of everything from car parts to handbags can be found, said yesterday it had another fraudulent product problem on its hands -- fruit.

Some traders were taking advantage of the higher prices that fruit from Taiwan command and claiming produce as being from Taiwan when in fact it was from China, officials said.

China imposes a 20 percent customs duty and a 17 percent business tax on imported fruit.

But last July, Beijing made a series of goodwill gestures to Taiwan by announcing preferential treatment for Taiwanese fruit, including a zero-tariff policy and acceleration of the custom clearance process.

The announcement following visits by then Chinese Nationalist Party chairman Lien Chan (連戰) and People First Party Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜).

"We have noticed that since last year when the tariffs were dropped, some merchants have been selling mainland-grown fruit at the same price as Taiwan-grown fruit," said Liu Junchuan (劉軍川), deputy head of the Taiwan Affairs Office's economic bureau.

Liu said Chinese authorities would take measures, including clearly labeling fruit from Fujian and Hainan provinces, the source of some of the supposed Taiwanese fruit.

In the first four months of this year alone, China imported US$1.3 million worth of Taiwanese fruit, according to the Chinese customs office.

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