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Taiwan threatens WTO action as China suspends importation of grouper fish

Image: Reuters Berita 24 English - Saturday, Taiwan's government threatened to take China to the World Trade Organization after China b...


Image: Reuters


Berita 24 English - Saturday, Taiwan's government threatened to take China to the World Trade Organization after China blocked imports of grouper fish from Taiwan, citing the presence of banned chemicals. This is the latest agricultural dispute between the two countries.

Last year, China stopped imports of Taiwanese pineapples, sugar apples, and wax apples, alleging insect problems, which Taiwan vehemently rejected.

Relations between Taipei and Beijing, which claims democratically governed Taiwan as its own territory, are at their lowest level in decades, with China intensifying political and military pressure on the island to recognise its sovereignty.

China's customs department announced late Friday that it had repeatedly identified illegal substances in Taiwanese grouper and would suspend their import beginning Monday "to prevent dangers and protect consumer health and life."

Chen Chi-chung, minister of agriculture for Taiwan's Council of Agriculture, denied the accusation, stating there was nothing wrong with the fish and that Taiwan will supply China with data and request a response.

He told reporters that Taiwan would not rule out pushing the issue to the WTO if China did not reply.

According to Cabinet spokesman Lo Ping-cheng, China has frequently boycotted and blocked Taiwanese agricultural and aquatic exports "in a manner inconsistent with international norms."

This not only damages relations between Taiwan and China, but also increases the Taiwanese public's displeasure with the Chinese Communist Party's arbitrary suppression of Taiwan.

The majority of Taiwanese grouper is consumed domestically, while China accounts for almost 90 percent of exports.


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