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Restrictions on seed exports to be in place in March

01/04/2024 03:59 PM
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A field of pineapples in Chiayi County. CNA file photo
A field of pineapples in Chiayi County. CNA file photo

Taipei, Jan. 4 (CNA) Restrictions on exporting seeds and their derivatives are expected to be in place by March 2024, according to the Agriculture and Food Agency under the Ministry of Agriculture (MOA).

Listed in a draft published by the agency on Tuesday are 29 such items as pineapples, bananas, tea trees, guavas, lychees, mushrooms and other produce.

Yao Chih-wang (姚志旺), deputy director of the agency, told CNA Thursday that the items were collected and practically assessed before they were announced.

The agency explained that the draft is being released for a two-month public review period before being imposed in March.

The restrictions are conditional, and a supplier may be authorized to export by the MOA's Department of International Affairs, Taiwan Agricultural Research Institute and other related units after a comprehensive evaluation, according to the agency.

The aim of the restrictions is to ensure Taiwan's agricultural developments will not be compromised, the agency said, adding that exports can be approved to consolidate diplomatic relations, for example.

On the other hand, exports may be limited if it disrupts the market, the agency added.

The restrictions are based on an amendment in the Plant Variety and Plant Seed Act that added an article for the competent authority -- currently the MOA -- to restrict items for import or export.

Those who violate the restrictions are subject to a maximum sentence of three years in prison or a fine ranging from NT$600,000 (US$19,338) to NT$3 million, or both.

The amendment was passed by the Legislature on May 2, 2023, in response to Taiwan's agricultural cultivars ending up unauthorized in China, violating intellectual property rights and damaging local farmers' livelihoods.

Such cultivars included the Tainung No. 23 "mango pineapple," which was developed for years before being given variety rights in 2018.

(By Yang Shu-min and Wu Kuan-hsien)

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