Taiwan Pineapple ban

Taiwan Pineapple ban

In 2021, China banned import of pineapples from Taiwan citing biosecurity concerns. The ban was just before the season for pineapple was started in the year 2021. Chinese government officials confirmed harmful pests were found in previous pineapple shipments. Taiwan denied Chinese claim of contamination of pest and replied that it was a politically-driven ban on the import of pineapples from Taiwan by China to pressure the country. The General Administration of Customs declared a ban on 26 February 2021, effective from 1 March 2021.

Chinese mainland has long been an important market for Taiwanese pineapples, accounting 90 percent of total Taiwanese Pineapple export. In the previous year Taiwan had exported 41,000 tons of pineapples to China even in the middle of political crisis between two countries.

Taiwan’s counter measures

Taiwan criticized Chinese ban and it replied that it did not affect Taiwanese economy as agriculture accounts for just 0.6 percent of Taiwanese export to China. Eventhough WTO rules grant all countries right to impose necessary measures to protect its human, animal and plant life,
its ban has not been proved scientifically. Additionally China has not provided any scientific documentation to prove the contamination of pest.Taiwan started exporting pineapples to neighboring Japan to compensate the loss it faced from ban. Taiwan raised the issue in international community. United States, Canada, Australia, Japan supported Taiwan and campaigned to buy more pineapples from Taiwan to save farmers. Eventhough the sudden ban shocked Taiwan, it used many tools to alleviate the crisis. 90 percent of the export go to mainland China while only 10 percent of Taiwan’s pineapple production is bound for export.

Then the foreign minister of Taiwan, Joseph Wu launched a “Freedom Pineapple” campaign on Twitter to counter Chinese politically motivated ban. Taiwanese pineapples have become a political symbol in the world. This campaign received world wide attention and support. Taiwan president Tsai Ing-wen has also launched a social media campaign called “Eat Taiwan’s pineapples until you burst” which encouraged local consumption of pineapples.

China’s reply

Mainland China claimed that import ban boosted the profit Chinese farmers and a great loss to Taiwanese farmers. One Chinese official said that both China and Japan customs had evidence of quality issues of vegetables and fruits from Taiwan. He added that if Taiwan really want to support its farmers, more quality and pest control measures should be undertaken before exporting its agricultural products to outside. China took immediate actions to stop price hike of pineapples due to the ban. China launched “Pineapple Express” trains from Guangdong province, largest producer of Pineapple from China, to different parts of the country including Beijing, Shanghai and Lanzhou. Xuwen county alone produces 38 percent of pineapples in China.

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