TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Following measures by China halting the import of seafood products, beer, and beverages from Taiwan, exporters are worried the communist country is targeting coffee and cocoa beans next, the Liberty Times reported Saturday (Dec. 10).
Beijing claimed food safety concerns were at the origin of the sudden bans, while Taiwan said it would file a complaint with the World Trade Organization (WTO) and help businesses find alternative markets for their products.
Exporters of raw, unroasted coffee beans and cocoa beans said they noticed Saturday that the products of more than 20 companies had been removed from a Chinese customs list of products allowed to be imported, per the Liberty Times.
According to Council of Agriculture (COA) data, Taiwan’s export of raw coffee beans to China rose from 2 tons for all of 2021 to 17 tons for January-November 2022, with a total value of US$29,000 (NT$890,000).
Most of the beans originated from other countries, while more than 90% of the 1,000 tons of beans produced annually in Taiwan were destined for the domestic market. The only Taiwanese exporter to have received a sustainable agriculture certification from the Rainforest Alliance said it had submitted the necessary documents to Chinese customs in August, but had not heard from them.
Most coffee producers and exporters said a ban by China would not affect their business to a large extent, as exports to the communist country mostly relied on previous visitors to Taiwan who had tasted their product during their travels.