China has abruptly suspended imports of pineapples from Taiwan to step up its economic pressure against the Taiwanese government.
The Chinese General Administration of customs reported that from Monday, China will stop importing pineapples from Taiwan.
“This move was a normal precaution to protect biosecurity and prevent the import of plant diseases,” said the spokesperson for China’s Taiwan Affairs Office.
Presidential Office spokesman Xavier Chang said that China’s action is “unfriendly.”
Taiwan produces nearly 420,000 tonnes of pineapples every year. It had exported 6,200 batches to China since last year, with only 13 batches, totalling 141 tonnes, failing tests, meaning the qualification rate was 99.79 per cent.
“Taiwan’s Council of Agriculture (COA) announced that it would spend NT$1 billion (US$35.33 million) to promote pineapple sales at home and abroad, while President Tsai Ing-wen and Vice President William Lai would take action to support domestic growers by consuming more pineapples themselves,” Chang said.
Beijing claims full sovereignty over Taiwan, a democracy of almost 24 million people located off the south-eastern coast of mainland China, despite the fact that the two sides have been governed separately for more than seven decades. China has a history of using trade to help it achieve its policy goals.
Taipei, on the other hand, has countered the Chinese aggression by increasing strategic ties with democracies including the US, which has been repeatedly opposed by Beijing.