China bans fruit imports from Taiwan

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XIAMEN: Mainland Chinese customs will suspend imports of cherimoya and wax apples from the island of Taiwan from Monday after multiple inspections detected quarantine pests in the two subtropical fruits this year .

According to a notice published on the General Administration of Customs website on Sunday, customs authorities will suspend declarations of cherimoya and apple wax originating in Taiwan, citing the planococcus minor found several times this year.

Although the ban, which comes days after US media reported that US officials were considering changing the name of Taiwan’s mission in Washington to “Taiwan Representative Office,” could easily spark speculation that whether this is an economic warning, it is in fact a normal biosecurity precaution. measure, said an expert.

Planococcus minor is a pest of more than 250 host plants and can harm tropical and subtropical fruits as well as crops. Once introduced and colonized, the pest could cause serious economic damage to the entire fruit industry.

This is not the first time that the mainland has imposed an import ban on fruit from the island of Taiwan due to pests. From March 1, mainland customs suspended pineapple imports from Taiwan due to frequent pest detection on fruits from Taiwan from 2020.

The import ban sparked complaints among Taiwanese politicians, alleging the ban was intended to punish the island. In response, Zhu Fenglian, spokesperson for the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council, said the decision was taken to protect agricultural production and ecological security on the mainland. Zhu also noted that the mainland has informed Taiwan of the pest problems.

“It is almost certain that the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) will again exaggerate the political implication behind the import ban this time around, attacking the mainland,” Wang Jianmin, a leading expert on both sides of the strait in the ‘Minnan Normal University in Fujian Province (east China). , the Global Times said on Sunday.

For example, Taiwanese media setn.com quoted DPP Taoyuan city councilor Wang Hao-yu as saying that the mainland suddenly found a reason to ban imports of cherimoya and wax apples from Taiwan, which has already raised serious concerns among local farmers.

“But such politicization of normal biosecurity control measures will only worsen cross-strait relations,” Wang noted. “The DPP doesn’t really care about the real interests of Taiwanese farmers.

The mainland has long been Taiwan’s main export destination for cherimos and wax apples. In 2020, Taiwan exported 13,588 tonnes of cherimoya and 4,792 tonnes of wax apples to the mainland, both accounting for more than 95% of the island’s total exports of the two fruits that year, setn.com reported. .

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