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Taiwan threatens to take China to WTO over apple import ban

Taiwan-China tussle over exports of fruits: Will the issue be dragged to the WTO?

Taiwan has threatened to drag China to the World Trade Organisation after Beijing suspended imports of wax apple and custard apple from Taipei citing pest concerns. However Taipei is hoping to resolve the issue bilaterally.

“China has without warning suspended imports of wax apples & custard apples from Taiwan. While we condemn their breach of international norms, we will do all we can to support #Taiwan’s agricultural sector & make sure that more people enjoy our delicious produce,” Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen said in a tweet.

According to Taipei Times, China’s customs administration has said that it repeatedly found pests called ‘Planococcus minor’, a type of mealybug, on wax and custard apples that have been imported from Taiwan.

Also read: China out to scuttle Taiwan’s move to join trans-Pacific trade pact

Council of Agriculture (COA) Minister Chen Chi-chung told the media that China acted unilaterally, “without providing scientific evidence,” the report said. Criticising the timing of the announcement, “as it came during the Mid-Autumn Festival, celebrated in Taiwan and China,” Chen said that this cannot be accepted.

The Mainland Affairs Council said China’s arbitrary move not only failed to comply with WTO and international trade rules, but also damaged the normal cross-strait trade mechanism, the news organisation pointed out.

The country, which produces approximately 57,000 tonnes of custard apples and 47,000 tonnes of wax apples every year, exports around 90 per cent of these fruits to China.