The government might file a complaint with the WTO after learning on Friday night that China was blocking imports of dozens of alcohol and other beverage products from Taiwan, only two days after suspending imports of several Taiwanese seafood products, Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) said yesterday.
China’s ban on shipments of Taiwan-made beer, liquor and other beverages contravened the rules of the WTO, and Taipei would communicate with Chinese authorities to resolve the situation, Su said, adding that the government would assist companies affected by the bans.
Imports of 11 of 28 beer and distillery items registered by Taiwanese exporters were suspended on Friday, with affected suppliers including Taihu Brewing (台虎精釀), Kinmen Kaoliang Liquor Inc (金門酒廠), King Car Food Industrial Co (金車企業), Legend Brewery Co (傳奇酒業), Win Shan International Co (雲山酒廠) and state-owned Taiwan Tobacco and Liquor Corp (TTL, 台灣菸酒公司), the Chinese General Administration of Customs Web site said.
Photo: Chang Hsieh-sheng, Taipei Times
Shipments of 123 of 354 beverages registered by Taiwanese exporters were also suspended, with affected companies including HeySong Corp (黑松), Vitalon Foods Co (維他露), Uni-President Enterprises Corp (統一企業), Taisun Enterprise Co (泰山企業), Oceanic Beverages Co (大西洋飲料) and King To Nin Jiom Medicine (京都念慈菴藥廠), the Web site said.
The import registration authorization of some of the affected companies was not due to expire until 2026 or 2027.
The suspension of beer, liquor and other beverage shipments from Taiwan came just two days after Chinese customs authorities banned some of Taiwan’s fishery products, citing a failure to comply with a new customs registration system that China introduced last year. Exporters of squid, Pacific saury and fourfinger threadfin are most affected.
Photo: Wu Cheng-Ting, Taipei Times
China’s Taiwan Affairs Office spokeswoman Zhu Fenglian (朱鳳蓮) on Friday said that the new registration system, which was introduced in April last year in a bid to enhance food safety, came into effect on Jan. 1.
Some of Taiwan’s food exporters had failed to provide all of the information required for registration so they were unable to secure approval to ship their products to China, Zhu said.
It is normal for a country to protect its food safety, she said, urging suppliers to provide the necessary information to register.
The Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) yesterday said that China had purposefully inconvenienced exporters.
China has used food safety concerns as a pretext for interfering with bilateral trade, and such irrational behavior contravenes international trade norms and hurts cross-strait commercial exchanges, it said, calling on Beijing to observe normal trade practices and resume imports from Taiwan.
Cheng Wei-chih (鄭維智), deputy head of the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Division of Food Safety, said the FDA received a notice from Chinese customs authorities late on Friday afternoon saying that the affected Taiwanese exporters failed to provide the necessary information when registering.
However, Chinese authorities did not respond to a question from the FDA about what information was missing, he said, adding that the lack of clarity has caused trouble for companies.
Any firm affected can call the FDA’s toll-free hotline, 0809-099-908, for help, Cheng said.
Kinmen Kaoliang Liquor spokesman Chen Qi-zhan (陳啟展) said that his company secured a qualification code from the Chinese customs service on Dec. 28 last year, which was supposed to be effective until Dec. 28, 2026.
However, the National Treasury Administration on March 24 informed Kinmen Kaoliang Liquor that it needed to provide additional information, including the origin of its raw materials, by April 30, which it did before mid-April, Chen said.
The information was passed to China by the FDA, he said, adding that the response his company received on Aug. 1 was that “the relevant logos and texts of the declaration of origin and other documents do not meet the requirements.”
Kinmen Kaoliang Liquor then quickly submitted the relevant documents, he said, adding that the suspension would not hurt its operations in China for the time being.
TTL said it also adhered to Chinese customs rules for registration and secured a qualification code in January, citing a notice from Chinese customs authorities.
Later, it was informed that its registration had become “invalid” and that it must provide the necessary information by the end of August, which it did, TTL said.
At the beginning of September, its registration was listed as “valid” on the Chinese customs agency’s Web site, TTL said, adding it had no idea why its qualification code became invalid on Friday.
The suspension would affect its imports for this month and is expected to cost the company about NT$1.3 million (US$42,453), TTL said, adding that while the loss might appear minor, it would seek clarification from Chinese authorities to protect its interests.
TTL said it also sells its products in markets such as South Korea, the EU, the Middle East and the US, so the suspension is expected to have only a limited effect on the company’s operations.
Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Eric Chu (朱立倫) said that the government should take action and urge Beijing to consider the livelihoods of farmers and fishers when deciding policy.
The government’s job is not simply to condemn Chinese policies, “the government must resolve problems for the people,” Chu said.
There is no reason Taiwan should not be able to deal with Chinese regulations, while other countries, such as Japan, are complying with China’s demands, he said.
The government has done nothing aside from condemning China and saying that it might file a complaint with the WTO, he said, adding that these are not the actions of a responsible government. Taipei must institute policies to deal with the situation, he said.
Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲), who is chairman of the Taiwan People’s Party, called on Beijing to rethink its import bans, saying that the move is likely to increase people’s dislike of China in Taiwan and exacerbate already deteriorating cross-strait relations.
Former president Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) said that disease and quality inspections for agricultural produce are among the 23 accords signed with China, and the Council of Agriculture should consider initiating negotiations with China.
The council has yet to take action, and the agency should explain why it is not using existing measures to handle such situations, Ma said.
Additional reporting by Jake Chung
PALAU LAUNCHES: The source said that Taiwanese military personnel traveled to Palau, where a US brigade watched their work amid plans for a defense network The military last month participated in live-fire launches of MM-104F Patriot (PAC-3) missiles under US observation in an undisclosed location in Palau, a step forward in a US-led plan to create a joint defense missile system in the first island chain, a source said on condition of anonymity. The PAC-3 is the mainstay surface-to-air missile of the US, NATO and democratic nations in East Asia, the source said, adding that it has never been live-tested within Taiwan’s borders, the source said. The proximity of Taiwan to China and China’s close surveillance of the nation’s borders and nearby sea zones is a significant
IN MOURNING: Tsai visited the site and spoke with family members of those killed, while all the major presidential candidates said they would temporarily halt campaigning A fire and subsequent explosions at a golf ball factory at Pingtung Technology Industrial Park (屏東科技產業園區) killed at least seven people, including four firefighters, and injured 98, while three were still missing, authorities said yesterday. The blaze at Launch Technologies Co’s (明揚國際) plant on Jingjian Road raged for more than 12 hours after it started at about 5pm on Friday, officials said. The Pingtung County Fire Bureau early yesterday used large excavators to search for missing people, while family members waited at the scene. Pingtung County Fire Bureau Director Hsu Mei-hsueh (許美雪) said the bureau received a call about the fire at 5:31pm
DETERRENCE: The president on Thursday is to launch the first indigenous submarine, which is to enter sea trials next month before being delivered to the navy next year Taiwan hopes to deploy at least two new, domestically developed submarines by 2027, and possibly equip later models with missiles to bolster its deterrence against the Chinese navy and protect key supply lines, the head of the program said. Taiwan has made the Indigenous Submarine Program a key part of an ambitious project to modernize its armed forces as Beijing stages almost daily military exercises. President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), who initiated the program when she took office in 2016, is expected to launch the first of eight new submarines on Thursday under a plan that has drawn on expertise and technology from
FISHING FUROR: The latest spat was sparked by a floating barrier that was found across the entrance of Scarborough Shoal during a resupply mission to fishers Beijing yesterday warned Manila not to “stir up trouble” after the Philippine Coast Guard said it removed a floating barrier at a disputed reef that was allegedly deployed by China to block Filipino fishers from the area. Scarborough Shoal (Huangyan Island, 黃岩島) in the South China Sea has long been a source of tension between the nations. China seized the ring of reefs from the Philippines in 2012 and has since deployed patrol boats. The latest spat was sparked by a 300m floating barrier that was found across the entrance of the shoal last week during a routine Philippine government resupply mission