Taiwan’s permanent mission to the World Trade Organization asked China again to revoke the ban on importing Taiwan’s pineapples, sugar apples, and wax apples on Saturday, March 26. However, the Chinese side replied that all these measures have scientific evidence.
According to Taiwan-based Liberty Times, the World Trade Organization (WTO) held a regular meeting on applying food safety and animal and plant health regulations under the framework of The Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures, or SPS Agreement. At the meeting on Saturday, Beijing discussed China’s suspension of fresh fruits like pineapple, sugar apple, and wax apple from Taiwan.
Lin Lian-ron, Taiwan’s deputy representative to the World Trade Organization (WTO), attended the meeting and gave a speech, putting forward four key points.
Firstly, Taiwan has made immediate improvements after receiving the non-conforming notification notice from China between 2020 and 2021. Taiwan has repeatedly requested China to provide scientific evidence and conduct scientific and technical dialogue through bilateral channels and WTO SPS contact points, but China has not responded.
Secondly, the Chinese side claimed that the interception of Planococcus minors, or passion vine mealybug, in sugar apple and wax apple had also occurred in many places in China. When the pest is found during import quarantine, it can be cleared through customs after fumigation and quarantine treatment. And there is no need to suspend imports and interrupt trade.
Thirdly, Taiwan also requested the Chinese side to provide more detailed identification and other reports on the pests detected in these three fruits for further analysis.
Finally, Taiwan hopes China will re-examine and re-implement reasonable measures to reduce trade restrictions, withdraw trade suspension measures against Taiwan. Furthermore, Taiwan wishes to start a scientific and technical dialogue between the two sides as soon as possible to solve the problem of fresh fruit exports of pineapples, sugar apple, and wax apple to China.
China responded that there is sufficient scientific evidence to suspend the import of these three types of fresh fruits from Taiwan and that the measures are in line with WTO rules. It also urged Taiwan to reduce the risk of pests so that trade could resume.
Last year, China repeatedly suspended imports of Taiwan’s pineapples, sugar apple, and wax apple due to harmful organisms. The Taiwan Council of Agriculture (COA) requested evidence from China but did not receive a response.
Therefore, the Council of Agriculture sent a letter to Taiwan’s Permanent Mission to the WTO to help raise specific trade concerns at the regular SPS Committee meetings.
Taiwan raised “trade-specific concerns” twice at the SPS meeting.
As for the follow-up development, the Council of Agriculture said in March that it hoped to return to the cross-strait quarantine platform for professional negotiation and handling. If not, it would consider adopting a compulsory dispute resolution mechanism.