China announced on Friday (Feb. 26) the country would suspend the import of Taiwan’s pineapples starting March 1, citing “harmful organisms” found in the fruit.
China’s General Administration of Customs said the harmful organisms had been found in Taiwanese pineapples on multiple occasions since 2020, including Planococcus minor (passionvine mealybug), Dysmicoccus neobrevipes (gray pineapple mealybug), and Melanaspis smiles. These bugs could pose a severe threat to China’s agriculture and environment, said Taiwan Affairs Office (TAO) Spokesman Ma Xiaoguang (馬曉光) on Friday.
The announcement comes at a time when pineapple season in the south Taiwan areas of Pingtung, Kaohsiung, and Tainan, and other places, is readying 10 percent of the total harvest for exports. At a press conference on Friday afternoon, Taiwan’s Council of Agriculture (COA) Minister Chen Chi-chung (陳吉仲) criticized Beijing for its “unilateral decision,” which he called “unacceptable.”
The COA learned of China’s decision via a notice issued by its customs agency on Thursday. There had been no discussions between the two sides about the issue, said Chen, who blasted the Chinese authorities for not complying with global trade practices.
China is the biggest consumer of Taiwan’s pineapples, with sales to the country accounting for 90 percent of the total export volume. A total of 41,661 tons of Taiwan pineapples were exported to China in 2020, valued at approximately NT$1.5 billion.
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