China has banned more than 2,000 Taiwan food imports amid Pelosi's visit as Beijing steps up trade weaponization
- China has banned more than 2,000 Taiwanese food imports, from fresh produce to processed food.
- China issued the ban just before US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's controversial visit to the island.
China has banned thousands of food imports from Taiwan amid US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's controversial visit to the island.
In a statement issued Wednesday, China's customs department said it has suspended imports of some fish and citrus fruits because they have repeatedly tested for excessive pesticide residues in the past year.
While China did not link the ban to Pelosi's ongoing visit and has banned Taiwanese farm products in the past, citing similar reasons, the timing of the move has raised questions. The ruling Democratic Progressive Party, or DPP, said the import suspensions are politically motivated, according to a statement viewed by Insider.
The suspension comes after China banned more than 2,000 individual Taiwanese food imports, ranging from fresh produce to processed food like baby food, candy, and pastries, according to a Nikkei review of Chinese customs data. No reasons were given for the suspensions, per Nikkei. The ban was imposed on Monday, according to United Daily News.
Taiwanese lawmaker Wang Ting-yu from the ruling DPP tweeted on Tuesday that the island will not be "intimidated" by China's "weaponization of trade."
China has a history of imposing restrictive trade practices on countries it's unhappy with. In 2020, China imposed import restrictions for Australian products including coal, barley, seafood, and wine as Beijing was displeased with the country over a range of issues, including Canberra's support for a probe into the origins of COVID-19.
It's also not the first time China has banned products from Taiwan. In 2021, China banned products including pineapples and custard apples from the island when tensions between the two territories rose. But the ban is far more extensive this time.
"In the past, China hit single products from the primary sector such as specific fruit or fish — that way, they kept the overall macroeconomic impact on Taiwan limited but could target regions where the Democratic Progressive party is strong," said Chiu Chui-cheng, the deputy chair of Taiwan's policymaking Mainland Affairs Council, told the Financial Times.
"But now they are broadening this immensely as they are targeting processed foods, that gives them enormous extortion powers," Chiu added to the FT.
China is Taiwan's largest export market, accounting for 42% of the island's total exports, dominated by machinery and electrical parts.
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