TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — In order to help counter a Chinese ban on Taiwanese wax apples, the Swiss Taiwan Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday (Sept. 22) pledged to help import the fruits into the central European country.
On Sunday (Sept. 19), the Department of Animal and Plant Quarantine under China's General Administration of Customs halted imports of Taiwanese custard apples and wax apples, claiming that several shipments of the fruits had been infested with citrus mealybugs, which are native to Asia. China's sudden ban follows a similar suspension of pineapple imports in February.
According to Taiwan's representative office in Switzerland, the Swiss-Taiwan Friendship Group and the Swiss-Taiwan Chamber of Commerce hosted the Taiwan-Swiss Economic Cooperation Agreement Feasibility Assessment Report on Wednesday and took the opportunity to celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival. Those in attendance included 13 members of the Swiss parliament, business people, and 50 other attendees, including scholars, members of think tanks, and journalists, reported CNA.
Andreas Glarner speaking at event. (Delegation culturelle et Economique de Taipei photo)
Marco Chiesa, president of the Parliamentary Intergroup Switzerland-Taiwan and president of the Swiss People's Party, delivered a speech in which he looked forward to the deepening of relations between Switzerland and Taiwan. In addition, Andreas Glarner, chairman of the Swiss-Taiwan Chamber of Commerce and member of the Swiss parliament said that friendship should not be ignored during this difficult pandemic period.
Glarner asserted that China has banned the import of Taiwanese wax apples for political purposes and that Switzerland should respond by supporting Taiwan. He also revealed that the Swiss-Taiwan Chamber of Commerce is currently planning on importing Taiwan-grown apples into Switzerland.
Marco Chiesa delivering remarks. (Delegation culturelle et Economique de Taipei photo)
During a briefing on the feasibility of a Taiwan-Swiss free trade agreement, Dr. Patrick Ziltener from the University of Zurich pointed out that if Taiwan and Switzerland sign a free trade agreement, Swiss companies will see a reduction of tariffs by 42 million Swiss francs each year. He added that Taiwanese exporters would see a reduction of tariffs by approximately 8.7 million Swiss francs each year.
While delivering remarks at the event, Taiwan's representative to Switzerland David Huang (黃偉峰) said that he had not returned to Taiwan for more than three years and that he regards his Swiss friends as "family members." Huang said that he believes that with the support of Swiss friends, the relationship between Taiwan and Switzerland will "surely deepen."