The Council of Agriculture (COA) is to establish a system to improve the management of grouper fish exports to prevent fish farmers from using licenses that are not theirs to facilitate exports to China, COA Minister Chen Chi-chung (陳吉仲) said on Wednesday.
Beijing on Monday last week implemented a ban on grouper imports from Taiwan, saying that it had detected prohibited chemicals in some shipments.
Since the cross-strait Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement came into effect in 2010, China has required Taiwan-based grouper farmers to provide documents every year to be allowed to export their fish to China, Chen said.
Photo: George Tsorng, Taipei Times
The requirement is not in line with agricultural trade practices internationally, he said.
However, some grouper farmers have used export permits that were issued by Beijing to other farmers in Taiwan to access the China market, he said.
The COA would set up a mechanism to improve its administration of grouper farming, maintain fish quality and ensure safe use of chemicals, he said.
There are more than 1,000 grouper farms in Taiwan and their annual output is estimated to be nearly 20,000 tonnes, he said.
Taiwan has banned 830 agricultural products from China to protect the interests of Taiwanese farmers, he said.
However, if China wants to discuss cross-strait trade, Taiwan would welcome the consultation, he said.
Hopefully, Beijing would respond to the COA’s reports on its testing standards for chemicals in grouper, Chen said.
Taiwan has provided a report on grouper testing via the cross-strait animal and plant health inspection and quarantine platform, he said, adding that discussions on the issue would be welcome.
The COA had previously said it had tested the fish, but found no evidence of banned chemicals.
As of last month, Taiwan had exported 3,059 tonnes of grouper to China, including Hong Kong, and Beijing’s ban is expected to reduce overall exports of the fish by 3,600 tonnes this year, COA data showed.
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