Negotiations should be quickly resumed to formulate conditions for inspection of Taiwanese agricultural products exported to China, Acting Minister of Agriculture Chen Junne-jih (陳駿季) said yesterday.
Exports of Taiwan-grown custard apples are to resume soon following a two-year import ban imposed by Beijing.
“It is the Ministry of Agriculture’s policy to export top-quality fruit produced in Taiwan to any country, including China, but imports and exports of agricultural products is a national security issue, so inspection criteria should be in sync with international regulations,” Chen said on the sidelines of a news conference in Taipei.
Photo: Yang Yuan-ting, Taipei Times
“As such, criteria should be set through negotiations led by central government officials, rather than city or county government officials,” he said.
“We urge Beijing to resume negotiations over inspection criteria as soon as possible through official cross-strait platforms,” he said.
“However, before there is substantial progress on this front, we will inspect custard apples based on the criteria from before Beijing imposed its import ban in 2021,” he said.
Beijing banned imports of custard apples from Taiwan in September 2021 after allegedly finding insects in inspections of shipments at its border.
“We have informed China Customs via an official cross-strait platform about the changes we have implemented to manage fruit exports, including for custard apples, pineapples, pomeloes and wax apples,” Chen said. “We have not received any response, except for in June, when China announced on the platform that it would allow imports of custard apples grown at 25 orchards in Taitung County and collected by three firms in the county.”
Taitung County Commissioner Yao Ching-ling (饒慶鈴) of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) traveled to China twice this year aiming to resume exports of Taitung-grown custard apples.
China subsequently announced that it would only allow imports of the fruit produced in the county.
The move was widely viewed as an attempt by Beijing to bypass the central government to negotiate directly with local government officials and use cross-strait trade to influence politics in Taiwan.
In January 2021, Beijing banned imports of pork products from or transshipped through Taiwan, after Taipei allowed imports of US pork and US beef with limited traces of ractopamine from cattle over 30 months old.
China in 2021 also suspended imports of Taiwanese pineapples and wax apples.
Last year it suspended imports of groupers from Taiwan, saying that it discovered banned substances in multiple inspections.
It also banned imports of frozen whitetail fish from Taiwan for a week after SARS-CoV-2 was found on packaging.
In December last year, Beijing banned imports of 178 aquatic products from Taiwan until they completed registration in August this year, while the registration deadline for other countries is June next year.
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