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Taiwan's Council of Agriculture minister criticizes China's unfair trade practices

'China will end up suffering the most if it continues linking trade with politics': Chen Chi-chung

Council of Agriculture Minister Chen Chi-chung (right).

Council of Agriculture Minister Chen Chi-chung (right). (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Council of Agriculture minister Chen Chi-chung (陳吉仲) said on Thursday (March 4) that if Beijing does not improve its handling of international trade and continues to link trade with politics, its trading partners will unite and China will ultimately suffer the most.

Chen made the remarks during an interview with the hosts of the radio station Super FM98.5, Chien Yu-yan (簡余晏) and Wang Chie-min (汪潔民). They were discussing the recent Chinese import ban on Taiwanese pineapples.

The minister said that if China continues to deal with political issues with other countries by retaliating economically, it will provoke affected nations into uniting against it. “In the end, the biggest loser will be China itself,” he remarked.

Last November, Beijing imposed new customs inspections on Australian rock lobsters to check them for traces of minerals and metals, according to Australian Agriculture Minister David Littleproud. Australian government data shows that China was the destination for approximately 94 percent of the Antipodean nation’s rock lobster exports.

That same month, China introduced an anti-dumping tariff of up to 212 percent on Australian wine. This has caused China-bound wine exports to plummet by 95 percent, according to initial estimates by Australian Grape and Wine Incorporated.

China has only been the top export destination for the country's wine since 2016, and in four years it has grown to account for 36 percent of wine export revenue in Australia, according to IBISworld.

Beijing’s moves are seen as retaliation for Sydney’s request that World Health Organization member states support an independent investigation into the origin and spread of the coronavirus.

Last week, Beijing banned Taiwanese pineapples, citing “harmful creatures” found on the fruit that threaten China’s agriculture. China’s Taiwan Affairs Office said the decision was “totally rational and necessary” and that customs had a responsibility to prevent plant-borne diseases from entering the country.

In response, the Taiwanese government launched a social media campaign to promote the nation’s pineapples, while local politicians publicly supported pineapple farmers. Meanwhile, Taiwanese companies and citizens alike rushed to purchase the tropical fruit in bulk and ultimately bought an entire year's worth in just four days.