Tue, Jan 16, 2018 - Page 3 News List

China destroys Taiwanese foods over origin label

‘PREPOSTEROUS’:Hwa Mei Food chairman Lu Ming-yen said trade with China has always been risky, but it is ridiculous that businesses are losing millions ‘over a word’

By Yan Hung-chun, Yang Chun-hui and Jonathan Chin  /  Staff reporters, with staff writer

China has destroyed several shipments of imported Taiwanese food products after companies failed to label them as produced in “Taiwan Area (台灣地區)” or “Taiwan Area, China (中國台灣地區),” as required by Chinese officials, businesses said.

Hwa Mei Food Co (樺美食品) chairman Lu Ming-yen (呂明炎) said he has personal knowledge of three cases in which Taiwanese import products were destroyed because their label did not use the word “area.”

Lu learned of those incidents after he last year became the president of a Changhua-based trade and export association, he said.

“In each case, Taiwanese manufacturers who were unaware of the rule had labeled their product’s place of origin as Chinese Taiwan and the Chinese customs office destroyed all their merchandise,” he said.

Chinese officials started to insist on the word “area” after the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) government took office, Lu said.

Customs officials at the ports of Pingtan, Xiamen and Dadeng in China’s Fujian Province are responsible for the majority of cases in which Taiwanese food imports were destroyed or delayed, he said.

The loss of a shipment usually costs businesses between NT$3 million and NT$4 million (US$101,550 and US$135,400), Lu said.

“Although there are inherent risks in doing business with China, it is preposterous that businesspeople now stand to lose millions over a word,” he said.

Former president Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) administration created excessive risks by developing too many trade ties with China, Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Lee Chun-yi (李俊俋) said on Sunday.

“It is high time for Taiwan to diversify its markets and develop bilateral or multilateral ties with other countries and regions,” Lee said “The New Southbound Policy and enhancing our economic exchanges with EU countries are important steps toward addressing the issue, and we should stay the course.”

Although China has stepped up economic coercion to influence Taiwanese politics, its obsession with phrasing and gestures would prove counterproductive, Lee said.

“Those little tricks will only push Taiwan away and harm the interests of Taiwanese businesses,” he said. “The government should respond to this development by taking steps to protect our businesses and do so quickly.”

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