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Tuesday, March 21, 2023

US House Speaker Pelosi Departs Taiwan as China slaps Trade Restrictions

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US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has concluded her controversial visit to Taiwan, with a plane carrying America’s third highest-ranking official taking off from Songshan Airport in Taipei on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, China has suspended the import of a range of Taiwanese goods as tensions grow over a visit to the self-governed island by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

According to Chinese authorities, imports of Taiwanese citrus and some types of fish are suspended. The restrictions were imposed due to excessive pesticide residue detected “multiple times” while some frozen fish packages had tested positive for coronavirus, they said.

In a separate statement, the Chinese Ministry of Commerce said it would halt the export of sand to Taiwan based on the relevant legal documents. Beyond that, the ministry did not provide any more details.

On Monday, prior to Pelosi’s visit, a ban was placed on more than 100 Taiwanese food brands, including tea, honey and seafood producers. According to Beijing, all of them had failed to renew their export registrations and would be allowed to sell their products only until the end of July.

Responding to the development, Taiwan Food and Drug Administration director Wu Shou-mei noted that the restrictions might be politically motivated accusing Beijing of treating Taiwanese manufacturers differently than those from other countries.

This is not the first time Beijing has imposed trade restrictions on Taipei. Last year, it blocked pineapple imports saying that it found pests in a number of shipments.

Taiwan, however, rebuffed the claim at the time, reiterating that the fruit is “of the highest quality and meets the strictest international certification standards”.

China is Taiwan’s largest trade partner, spending $328.3 billion with the island last year. At the same time, exports from Taiwan exceed imports by $172 billion.

During her short stay in Taipei, the House speaker promised that the US “will not abandon our commitment to Taiwan,” describing it as “one of the freest societies in the world.”

The 82-year-old addressed the local parliament, held a meeting with the island’s leader Tsai Ing-wen, and was awarded with the one of Taiwan’s highest civilian awards – the Order of Propitious Clouds with Special Grand Cordon – for her firm stance in “safeguarding freedom, democracy and human rights.”

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