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China has barred shipments from more than 100 Taiwanese food exporters in an apparent effort to impose economic pressure on a key industry ahead of an expected visit by US House of Representatives speaker Nancy Pelosi.
China’s General Administration of Customs imposed the ban on Monday, according to local outlet United Daily News, which said affected goods include seafood, tea and honey. The issue was outdated information on import documentations, the Taipei-based Apple Daily reported, adding that the Taiwan Food and Drug Administration is trying to understand more about the problem.
The Chinese ban is the latest in a series of measures taken by Beijing that target Taiwan’s agricultural industry. Many of the fruit-producing regions of southern Taiwan are typically bastions of political support for President Tsai Ing-wen’s Democratic Progressive Party, which advocates for Taiwan’s formal independence.
China’s Communist Party claims Taiwan as part of its territory, despite never having controlled the island.
China caught Taiwan off guard when it slammed a sudden ban on imports of pineapples from the island last year. Beijing followed that up by banning imports of wax apples and sugar apples in September. While most fruit produced in Taiwan is consumed domestically, the vast majority of exports go to China.
The latest ban comes as Pelosi is expected to land in Taiwan on Tuesday evening, according to people familiar with her plans. The visit has elicited harsh warnings from Chinese officials who have promised “grave consequences” should Pelosi arrive in Taipei.
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