The Council of Agriculture (COA) aims to submit a draft amendment to the Plant Variety and Plant Seed Act (植物品種及種苗法) to the Executive Yuan before the end of June, COA Deputy Minister Chen Junne-jih (陳駿季) said yesterday.
The amendment would seek to prevent the outflow of endemic fruits and cultivars, and agricultural technologies to China.
The council announced the amendment in reaction to China’s ban on Taiwanese pineapple imports and the subsequent promotion of a domestically grown pineapple cultivar that was developed in Taiwan.
Beijing on Wednesday unveiled a slew of measures, dubbed the “the 22 Forestry and Agricultural Measures” by Taiwanese media, to attract Taiwanese agriculture professionals to China.
The measures would allow Taiwanese to buy land, obtain a farming-specific credit rating, receive subsidies and join trade organizations in several agricultural sectors, including forestry, and the cultivation of tea, fruits and flowers.
Chen said that the amendment would follow in Japan’s footsteps, the first country in the world to punish the unauthorized export of local flora.
The amendment would be discussed with all groups it would affect before it is sent it to the Executive Yuan for approval, Chen said.
The amendment would, if approved, be forwarded to the legislature.
Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Chen Ting-fei (陳亭妃) said that she hoped the proposal would be discussed in the next legislative session.
The council should draw up a list of protected cultivars and technologies before next month, she said.
On Beijing’s 22 measures, Executive Yuan spokesman Lo Ping-cheng (羅秉成) said that the wording “beneficial for Taiwan” was willfully misleading, as they would only benefit China.
Over the past few years, Taiwan has worked toward diversifying its export markets and reducing its reliance on China, Lo said.
China’s ban on Taiwanese pineapples, which had passed even the most rigorous and strict examinations in Japan, is evidence that China is attempting to weaken Taiwan and gain its agricultural technologies and know-how, Lo said.
Noting that China’s agricultural sector is reeling after an armyworm infestation and its hog industry has not yet recovered from an outbreak of African swine fever, Lo said that Taiwanese should wary of anything China describes as beneficial to Taiwan.
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