TAIWAN SLAMS CHINA BAN ON ITS PINEAPPLES
Taipei slammed a sudden Chinese ban on Taiwanese pineapples, describing the move on Friday as "economic intimidation" and likening it to recent tariffs Beijing slapped on Australian wine, Agence France-Presse (AFP) reported.
The trade to China -- which views the self-ruled democratic island as part of its territory awaiting reunification -- is worth around $50 million and comprises 95% of Taiwan's export market. Pineapple growers are currently preparing for the harvest season -- last year Taiwan shipped some 42,000 tons of pineapples to China.
Beijing announced the ban Friday morning after saying it "found pests in pineapples imported from Taiwan" and said the rules were in line with mainland "regulations" but Taiwan’s ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) accused Beijing's of "ambushing" Taiwan with a politically driven ban, which comes on March 1.
"China appears to be duplicating its actions against Australian wine last year to use economic intimidation on Taiwan," the party said in a statement. "We hope Taiwanese will support Taiwanese pineapple just like the Australians supported Australian wine," said presidential spokesman Xavier Chang, adding the government will subsidize farmers.