Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) yesterday accused China of contravening international trade rules and “discriminating” against Taiwan after it halted imports of more Taiwanese beverages.
Only two days after halting imports of several Taiwanese seafood products, the Ministry of Finance said that Chinese customs authorities on Friday “suddenly suspended” imports of certain alcoholic and other beverages from Taiwan.
It said the move was related to a regulation Beijing imposed on Jan. 1 that requires all food and alcoholic beverage exporters to be registered with Chinese customs.
Photo: Tung Chen-kuo, Taipei Times
Some Taiwanese companies were still under review.
Beijing had contravened WTO norms by “making its own rules” and “meddling in trade through administrative means,” Su said.
China “is especially tough on Taiwan and especially discriminates against Taiwan... They’ve asked Taiwan to do this and do that,” he said, adding that Taipei plans to appeal to the WTO and would assist the affected businesses.
After China introduced the new registration system in April last year, the Japanese government in August last year began to assist its producers with the process, local media reported.
A government official yesterday said that China was treating Taiwan “unfairly.”
Only Taiwanese producers had to submit hard copies of documents by June 30, unlike other countries, whose producers had a year longer to apply and could do so online, the official said.
Since October last year, the government has assisted 3,232 producers in submitting their registration applications, 792 of which received approval, while 31 were canceled voluntarily, the official said, adding that 2,409 did not gain approval.
While some producers suspected that using “Taiwan” instead of “China Taiwan” on the registration documents led to their application being denied, Deputy Minister of Health and Welfare Victor Wang (王必勝) yesterday said that China did not give reasons for denying the applications.
In comparison with other countries, “we were treated specially and unfairly,” he said.
The registration process was not transparent and China had not provided channels for consultation, Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Director Wu Shou-mei (吳秀梅) said.
The FDA said that on Sept. 15, the registration applications of 266 Taiwanese producers were marked as “approved through recommendation,” 846 were labeled as “approved through self-application” and 2,091 as “imports suspended.”
On Thursday, the registrations of 159 Taiwanese producers were marked as “approved through recommendation,” 847 as “approved through self-application” and 2,195 as “imports suspended,” it said.
On Saturday, the registrations of 42 Taiwanese producers were labeled as “approved through recommendation,” 750 as “approved through self-application” and 2,409 as “imports suspended,” 1,800 of which had no intention of submitting additional documents because some of them want to pull out of the Chinese market, it said.
Separately, Taiwan-Japan Relations Association Chairman Su Jia-chyuan (蘇嘉全) said that he is approaching Japanese businesses in an effort to begin exporting agricultural and fishery products to Japan as soon as possible.
Additional reporting by Lu Yi-hsuan
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