As Pelosi Shuns China Threats, Beijing Bans Taiwan Fish, Fruits
China blocked imports of citrus, fish, and other foods from Taiwan in retaliation for a visit by a US Speaker Nancy Pelosi but has avoided disrupting chips imports, which accounts for $400 billion of China’s total trade with Taiwan on an annual basis, Joe McDonald reported for the Associated Press (AP) early on August 4, 2022.
Photo Insert: A container ship in the Port of Kaohsiung, Taiwan
Despite threats of military action, China apparently blinked, at best staging war games as Pelosi landed in Taiwan, met with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen and other politicians, and vowed to defend Taiwan from China’s decades-long harassment.
China is a laggard when it comes to chip production and has to depend on Taiwan to supply its smartphone and electronics manufacturers with microprocessors. Two-way trade soared 26% last year to $328.3 billion.
Taiwan, which produces half the world’s processor chips and has technology the mainland can’t match, said sales to Chinese factories rose 24.4% to $104.3 billion.
On Wednesday, Beijing blocked imports of citrus and frozen hairtail and mackerel from Taiwan after Pelosi arrived in Taiwan but lacked the balls to ban the entry of Taiwan’s chips. Neither has it banned the imports of industrial components that China could not produce despite years of piracy and espionage.
China also blocked imports of hundreds of other food items from Taiwan including cookies and seafood. Fruit, fish, and other foods are a small part of Taiwan’s exports to China, but the ban hurts areas that are seen as supporters of President Tsai.
Taiwanese companies have invested nearly $200 billion in the mainland over the past three decades. Entrepreneurs, engineers, and others have migrated to the mainland to work, some recruited by Chinese chipmakers and other companies trying to catch up with Taiwan.
A 2020 census found 158,000 Taiwanese living on the mainland. Taiwan plays an outsized role in the chip industry for an island of 24.5 million people, accounting for more than half the global supply.