Taiwan threatens to take China to WTO in new spat over fruit


Beijing had said it would suspend sugar apple (pictured) and wax apple imports from Taiwan on pest concerns. - UNSPLASH

TAIPEI/BEIJING, Sept 19 (Reuters): Taiwan threatened to take China to the World Trade Organization on Sunday (Sept 18) after Beijing said it would suspend sugar apple and wax apple imports from the island on pest concerns, in the latest spat between the two over fruit.

Relations between Taipei and Beijing, which claims democratically ruled Taiwan as its own territory, are at their lowest in decades, with China increasing political and military pressure to get the island to accept its sovereignty.

China's customs administration said it had repeatedly detected pests called "Planococcus minor" in sugar apples, also known as sweetsops or custard apples, and wax apples from Taiwan. It asked its Guangdong branch and all directly affiliated offices to stop customs clearance of those products from Monday.

Taiwan's Council of Agriculture Minister Chen Chi-chung said China had behaved unilaterally without providing scientific evidence, and criticised the announcement for coming during the traditional Mid-Autumn Festival, celebrated by Taiwan and China.

"We cannot accept this," Chen told reporters in Taipei about the decision, which he said his office had only received at 9am (0100 GMT) on Sunday.

Taiwan has told China it will take the country to the WTO under the body's dispute resolution mechanism if Beijing does not respond to Taipei's request to resolve the issue under their existing bilateral framework before Sept 30, he added.

Taiwan Foreign Minister Joseph Wu tweeted that, following its military threats, China was now "weaponising trade" and the move should cast doubt over its application last week to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, a free trade group.

"China wants to join the high-standard CPTPP? Is this a joke?" Wu said.

Sugar apples and wax apples are Taiwan specialities, although most are consumed domestically. The island is also known for its mangoes.

This is the second time this year China has stopped fruit imports from Taiwan.

In February, China banned imports of pineapples from Taiwan, citing "harmful creatures" that could come with the fruit. Taiwan had said there was nothing wrong with the pineapples and accused Beijing of playing politics.

Article type: metered
User Type: anonymous web
User Status:
Campaign ID: 46
Cxense type: free
User access status: 3
Join our Telegram channel to get our Evening Alerts and breaking news highlights
   

Next In Aseanplus News

Hanoi to open Covid-19 vaccination for children above three as Vietnam reports 3,034 new cases on Tuesday (Oct 19)
China opens VPN services to foreign investment in Beijing
United States raises Covid-19 travel alert for Singapore to highest risk level
Indonesia's Jokowi urges developed countries to commit to climate funding goals
Thailand gears up vaccination roll-out ahead of planned reopening
Philippines: Eight-week oil price hikes hammer Filipinos still being battered by Covid-19
Vietnam PM praises frontline medical workers for sacrifice in the fight against Covid-19
Myanmar anti-junta protesters reunited with families in junta amnesty
Singapore regulator takes special measures to clinch energy security
Emerging markets: Indonesia's rupiah firm after central bank holds rates and stocks pare losses

Others Also Read


Vouchers