Premier Su Tseng-chang warned on Saturday that Taiwan may take China to the World Trade Organization after Beijing effectively barred the import of more Taiwanese food and drink items. Beijing had accused Taipei of “political manipulation” at the time.
Since the previous two years, Taiwan, which China claims as its own territory, has complained about Chinese import restrictions on a variety of agricultural and aquatic products, including pineapples and grouper fish, alleging that these restrictions are the result of Chinese pressure tactics.
The latest bans cover more fishery products, chief among them squid, as well as some beers and liquors, which China has said is due to the Taiwanese companies not properly completing relevant paperwork.
Speaking to reporters, Su said China was using administrative means to “interfere” in normal trade which is not in line with WTO norms.
The government will do its best to communicate with relevant Chinese departments on the issue, he added.
“If there is any non-compliance with the relevant WTO norms, we will also follow the relevant channels to file a complaint.”
Taiwan and China are both WTO members.
In a statement late on Friday, China’s Taiwan Affairs Office said the problem was an administrative one in that the affected companies were not properly registered and this was a “normal food safety supervision measure”.
It said it hoped that Taiwanese companies will provide the information that meets government requirements as soon as possible.
“At the same time, we are telling the relevant departments on the island to immediately stop any political manipulation and not to do anything stupid that harms companies on the island.”
Agriculture is not a major part of Taiwan’s semiconductor-oriented economy but the farming and fishing community is largely based in parts of the island that traditionally support the ruling Democratic Progressive Party, especially in southern Taiwan.