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China lifts import ban on Taiwan beltfish, mackerel

03/15/2023 08:55 PM
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Beltfish. Photo courtesy of Fisheries Agency
Beltfish. Photo courtesy of Fisheries Agency

Taipei, March 15 (CNA) China on Wednesday lifted its ban on imports of fresh chilled beltfish and frozen Atlantic horse mackerel from Taiwan amid an easing of COVID-19 restrictions, Ma Xiaoguang (馬曉光), a spokesman for China's Taiwan Affairs Office (TAO), said in a statement.

Chinese customs suspended imports of the two types of fish products from Taiwan beginning Aug. 3, 2022 "based on the consideration of biosecurity risk prevention", citing traces of the COVID-19 virus detected on the outer packaging of the two fishery products imported from Taiwan, according to Ma.

However, China has recently downgraded its COVID-19 management protocols and canceled measures such as testing for the virus on all imported cold-chain food products, Ma said.

"In order to promote the healthy development of cross-strait trade, the General Administration of Customs has decided to resume imports of chilled large-head hairtail and frozen mackerel from Taiwan from March 15," Ma added.

China had suspended imports of Taiwanese grouper beginning June 13, 2022, claiming that prohibited chemicals and excessive levels of oxytetracycline had been repeatedly detected in shipments of the fish.

Later that year Chinese authorities further imposed an import ban covering over 100 Taiwanese companies selling aquatic products and processed foods, which Beijing claimed have failed to submit documents or provide correctly information needed to comply with new customs registration rules.

However, on Jan. 29 this year TAO said China's import ban for products made by 63 Taiwanese companies, including Kaoliang liquor brewed by Kinmen Kaoliang Liquor Inc., has been lifted.

TAO explained those companies had successfully registered or updated their registration information, meaning they can resume exports to China.

Jan. 30: Council calls China's partial lifting of import ban on Taiwan a political move

In response, Wang Cheng-fang (王正芳), a deputy director-general of Taiwan's Fisheries Agency under the Council of Agriculture (COA), confirmed that the COA has received the relevant documents regarding the move by Beijing.

Wang said the COA is happy to see that China complies with international standards by lifting the ban.

In addition to the Chinese market, the council will continue to work with the industry to expand sales in high-end markets around the world, he added.

Meanwhile, Chen Wen-chin (陳文欽), the director-general of Keelung Fishermen's Association, told CNA that the two kinds of fish are expected to resume exporting to China from about July and August when the production season starts and runs until March next year.

(By Chang Shu-ling and Evelyn Kao)


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