Jul 07, 2022
In Welcome to the Forum
"The mainland says there are germs or illegal drugs, but we don't find them here. They just say they have it, and that's a political factor. Everything is the same, pineapples or guava are the same. The problem of access, we farm The households don’t know what to do?” This is what Lin Chunlai, a grouper farmer in Pingtung, Taiwan, told BBC Chinese. On June 10, China Customs issued a notice saying that illegal drugs were detected in grouper, and the import of grouper into the Chinese market would be "suspended" from June 13, causing panic among Taiwanese aquaculture operators and protests from the Taiwanese government. Based on this, the Taiwan Council of Agriculture criticized Beijing's move as a "repression of the government by farmers" since it banned pineapples, guava and other fruits last year, and hurt free trade and cross-strait trade. However, Beijing banner design emphasizes that everything follows food safety regulations and criticizes the Taiwanese government for being pan-politicized. In any case, just like the ban on pineapples, the grouper incident once again triggered an agricultural crisis in Taiwan. The issue of Taiwan's agricultural and aquatic products relying on a single Chinese market has resurfaced, and these disputes are also a microcosm of political changes across the Taiwan Strait. In the past, products such as grouper and pineapple were the products of lucrative profits obtained in the 2010 "Cross-Strait Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement" (ECFA). However, amid tensions across the Taiwan Strait, Taiwanese goods and crops on the ECFA list are facing a crisis. Some analysts say that ECFA is the key to the ban of these products in Taiwan. According to a statement by Chen Jizhong, chairman of the Taiwan Council of Agriculture, in 2021, the annual output of grouper will be about 17,000 metric tons, and 6,121 metric tons will be exported to China, accounting for 91% of near-foreign sales and 36% of Taiwan's total output. Cross-strait trade dispute re-emerges In response to China's ban, Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council issued a statement on June 15 saying that the incident was caused by the Chinese customs department reporting through the cross-strait agreement platform in December 2021 that two grouper farms in Taiwan had detected banned drugs. The MAC explained that the Taiwan Council of Agriculture and the local government investigated the farms involved at the time, but no banned drugs were found. Therefore, since January this year, they have notified the mainland of the investigation results three times, but have not received a positive response.