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Home The News News Office criticizes Chinese trade ruling

Office criticizes Chinese trade ruling

Beijing is using trade to manipulate Taiwan’s politics, the Office of Trade Negotiations said yesterday after China announced that a ban on imports of more than 2,455 categories of Chinese goods constituted a “trade barrier.”

The Executive Yuan office said in a statement that a Chinese probe contravened WTO rules and Taiwan did not accept it.

The investigation was politically motivated and China should immediately cease its political manipulation of Taiwan, it said, without elaborating.

Flags of Taiwan are pictured at the port in Keelung on Sept. 17 last year.

Photo: Cheng I-Hwa, AFP

The statement was echoed by the Mainland Affairs Council.

Trade disputes should be handled through the WTO, the council said, adding that China’s decision to bypass the global body to carry out the investigation showed that it was politically motivated.

Earlier yesterday, the Chinese Ministry of Commerce said in a statement that Taiwan’s restrictions on imports of the products from China were a barrier to trade.

The decision was made after a probe into potential trade barriers, which began on April 12, it said.

There was no indication of what China might do in response to its judgement.

The announcement comes less than a month before Taiwan’s presidential and legislative elections on Jan. 13, sparking concerns that China would use the issue to influence voters.

The Ministry of Economic Affairs also called for negotiations to be held under the WTO framework.

Taiwan is willing to discuss trade issues with China based on the rules and mechanisms of the WTO, it said in a statement.

The two sides can resolve issues there because both are WTO members, it said.

China has also banned imports of Taiwanese agricultural, fishery and food products without warning, resulting in Taiwan having to initiate corresponding measures to ensure the rights and interests of operators, it added.

“If China is sincere, Taiwan is ready to talk at any time,” Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) spokesman Chang Chih-hao (張志豪) said, also calling for WTO mechanisms to be used.

The announcement of an investigation so close to Taiwan’s elections clearly shows that China intended to exert its interference and harm cross-strait relations, Chang said.

Separately, Broadcasting Corp of China (中廣) chairman Jaw Shaw-kong (趙少康), the vice presidential candidate of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), said it was appropriate for Taiwan to proportionally protect its agricultural products and goods because of the geographical size difference between Taiwan and China.

China should not only think about mutual interests, but should also take the hard work of Taiwanese farmers into consideration, Jaw said.

“Taiwanese farmers are all small stakeholders who face high operating costs,” he said. “Once the market is opened, it will pose a great blow to Taiwan’s agriculture.”

Separately, Thomas Wu (吳東亮), chairman of the Taipei-based Chinese National Association of Industry and Commerce, urged the two sides to communicate to promote understanding.

The government should take supporting measures to assist vulnerable industries in the agriculture and fisheries sectors due to China’s import bans, Wu said.

Source: Taipei Times - 2023/12/17

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