According to the Liberty Times, Fei said the final decision on pesticide residues generally involved trade negotiations between governments, but she did not know what was behind the department’s decision this time.
Tsai Shu-chen (蔡淑貞), a section chief at the FDA, was quoted by the China Times as saying that the decision was made after checks at all levels and that no trade negotiation was involved. Taiwan has been South Korea’s largest export market for its apples.
In 2009, 92.5 percent of the apples exported by South Korea, worth US$17.87 million, were shipped to Taiwan, but the percentage dropped to 86.7 percent in 2010 and 66.4 percent last year, the South Korean state-run company said.
The decreased share of apple exports to Taiwan was said to be a result of competition from other countries, such as Japan, and inspection issues, with several batches of apples found to contain traces of pesticides that were banned in Taiwan.
According to statistics from the Council of Agriculture, the US was Taiwan’s largest source of apples last year, shipping 52,424.8 tonnes, followed by Chile, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea.