Chinese trader's wax apple import halt an isolated case: COA

02/28/2021 08:14 PM
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CNA file photo
CNA file photo

Kaohsiung, Feb. 28 (CNA) Taiwan's agricultural authorities said Sunday that a notification received by a farmers' group in Kaohsiung from a Chinese trade company suspending one shipment of wax apples is an isolated case and will have no impact on cross-strait trade in the fruit.

The Liukuei Farmers' Association in Kaohsiung said it received notification from its Chinese trade agent on Sunday suspending a shipment of wax apples to China scheduled for next week.

The notification came three days after Taiwan was notified of China's decision to suspend imports of pineapples from the island starting Monday.

In response, Council of Agriculture (COA) Minister Chen Chi-chung (陳吉仲) said this is the decision of one Chinese trade agent and does not impact cross-strait trade in wax apples.

If Taiwan or China decides to suspend trade in any particular agricultural produce, a bilateral agricultural trade agreement between the two sides stipulates that notification should be sent to the other side immediately. The COA has received no such notification, Chen said.

Chen also called on local media to conduct fact checking and verification before filing sensationalist reports that could impact the price of farm produce.

Meanwhile, Wang Zheng-yi (王正一), acting director-general of Kaohsiung City government's Agriculture Bureau, confirmed that a Chinese trading company has asked the farmers' association to suspend a shipment of wax apples scheduled for next week, reiterating that the decision involves one Chinese trading agent and one shipment of the fruit.

According to the local agriculture bureau, the shipment was expected to contain an estimated 300-400 cartons of wax apples.

The COA's Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine (BAPHIQ) said that the farmers' association has exported 7,648 metric tons of wax apples since last year, all of which passed China's inspections.

Kaoshiung exported 1,331.5 metric tons of wax apples last year, with 99.5 percent going to China. This year will see reduced output due to fruit being damaged by cold weather, with the wax apple harvest expected to begin in the middle of next month, according to the COA.

Kaohsiung produces about 5,700 metric tons of wax apples annually and is home to 407 hectares of wax apple fields, with Liukeui accounting for around 344 hectares.

About 80 percent of Liukuei's production of wax apples is for domestic sale, while exports account for 20 percent, mainly going to China, according to the data.

Wax apples are one of the five main fruits Taiwan exports to China. In Liukuei, a species of wax apple dubbed "honey wind bell" has been developed for export and produces a production value of about NT$100 million (US$3.59 million) per year.

(By Hung Hsueh-kuang, Wang Shwu-feng and Evelyn Kao)

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