Taipei, Taiwan:

Taipei slammed a sudden Chinese ban on Taiwanese pineapples, describing the move on Friday as “economic intimidation” and likening it to current tariffs Beijing slapped on Australian wine.

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The trade to China — which views the self-ruled democratic island as aspect of its territory awaiting reunification — is worth about $50 million, and is Taiwan’s biggest export marketplace.

Beijing announced the ban Friday morning right after saying it “found pests in pineapples imported from Taiwan”, and stated the guidelines have been in line with mainland “regulations”.

But the island’s ruling Democratic Progressive Party accused Beijing of “ambushing” Taiwan with a politically driven ban, which comes in March 1.

“China appears to be duplicating its actions against Australian wine last year to use economic intimidation on Taiwan,” the party stated in a statement.

“We hope Taiwanese will support Taiwanese pineapple just like the Australians supported Australian wine,” stated presidential spokesman Xavier Chang, adding the government will subsidise farmers.

Beijing has ramped up stress on Taiwan given that President Tsai Ing-wen took workplace in 2016, as she views the island as a de facto sovereign nation and not aspect of “one China”.

Beijing has a record of deploying punitive levies throughout disputes with other nations.

Last year tariffs have been placed on Australian wine, amongst other things, as relations amongst the two nations soured more than the tech giant Huawei and the origins of the coronavirus.

Taiwan’s Premier Su Tseng-chang described the ban as “unreasonable”, saying exports generally passed security checks in China with a almost one hundred % price.

Pineapple growers are presently preparing for the harvest season — final year Taiwan shipped some 42,000 tonnes of pineapples to China, 95 % of its total exports of the fruit.

Agriculture minister Chen Chi-chung urged Beijing to sit down for talks with Taipei to resolve the situation, but there has been no official communication amongst the two given that 2016.

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