August 18, 2023
BEIJING – A preliminary investigation has found that the Taiwan region’s restrictions on products from the Chinese mainland are suspected of violating rules set by the World Trade Organization, the Ministry of Commerce said on Thursday.
Ministry spokeswoman Shu Jueting told a news conference that the ministry would continue the investigation and issue its final results at an appropriate time.
She said that Taiwan is suspected of violating WTO rules regarding the principles of nondiscrimination and the general elimination of quantitative restrictions, among others.
“The mainland has clearly expressed concerns multiple times at WTO reviews over Taiwan’s trade policies, and urged the region to earnestly implement its WTO commitments,” she said.
“Yet the Taiwan side has so far not made any change, while at the same time, it has banned more imports from the mainland,” she added.
Products involved in the investigation have expanded to 2,509 items so far, while when the investigation was first launched, the corresponding figure was 2,455, she said.
“Due to restrictive trade measures adopted by Taiwan, products from the mainland, such as petrochemicals, textiles, electromechanical equipment, automobiles and high-quality but inexpensive agricultural produce and daily necessities, cannot be exported to Taiwan, which has had a negative impact on exporting enterprises,” she said.
“Enterprises and trade associations taking part in the investigation have all called for the Taiwan region to lift the trade restrictions as soon as possible,” she added.
The ministry decided to launch the investigation in April after receiving an application submitted jointly by the China Chamber of Commerce of the Import and Export of Foodstuffs, Native Produce and Animal By-Products; the China Chamber of Commerce of Metals, Minerals & Chemicals Importers & Exporters; and the China Chamber of Commerce for the Import and Export of Textiles.
According to the ministry’s statement in April, the investigation is due to be concluded on Oct 12 but may be extended to Jan 12 if exceptional circumstances arise.
Zhou Mi, a senior researcher at the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation, said that Taiwan’s restrictive trade measures on products from the mainland disrupt trade and investment, and severely harm the interests of consumers and enterprises in the region.