Taiwan has threatened to drag China to the World Trade Organization following a statement from Beijing saying it would suspend the import of sugar apple and wax apple citing pest concerns.
The move marks the latest spat between Democratic Taiwan and Dictatorial China.
Relations between the two countries are at their lowest in decades with China, increasing political and military pressure to force Taiwan to accept its sovereignty.
In a statement China’s customs administration said, it had detected “Planococcus minor”, a pest, in sugar apples, also known as custard apples, and wax apples from Taiwan. On Monday, it asked its Guangdong branch and all directly affiliated offices to stop customs clearance of those products from Monday.
Criticizing the move, Taiwan’s Council of Agriculture Minister Chen Chi-chung said China had not provided any scientific evidence and that its move was unilateral.
“We cannot accept this,” said Chen on China’s decision, saying it was left no option but to drag China to the WTO for a dispute resolution mechanism if Beijing does not respond to Taipei’s request to resolve the issue under their existing bilateral framework before September 30.
In a tweet, Taiwan Foreign Minister Joseph Wu said apart from military threats, Beijing was now “weaponising trade” and that this irrational unilateral behavior should cast doubts over China’s application to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, a free trade group.
“China wants to join the high-standard CPTPP? Is this a joke?” said Wu.
This is the second time this year China has stopped fruit imports from Taiwan.
Earlier this year in February, China banned the imports of pineapples from Taiwan, citing “harmful creatures” that could come with the fruit.