25,000kg of pineapples on the way to S'pore from Taiwan after China's import ban

There has been a surge in demand for Taiwanese pineapples following the ban.

Kayla Wong | March 11, 2021, 10:11 PM

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Singapore has imported 25 tonnes (25,000kg) of pineapples from Taiwan, following a Chinese ban on the Taiwanese import, Central News Agency (CNA) reported.

China had cited the discovery of pests as the reason for the ban, which kicked in on Mar. 1, the BBC reported.

Will arrive in Singapore in a week's time

The boxes of pineapples were loaded at the rural Nanxi district in the southern city of Tainan in preparation for export.

Screenshot via YouTube

They are estimated to take about one week to arrive in Singapore.

Taiwanese businessmen in Singapore had reportedly pushed for and facilitated the export to the city-state.

Turning a crisis into an opportunity

Speaking to the press, Tainan Mayor Huang Wei-che said that a crisis is also an opportunity, and with the support of people from other markets, Taiwan has managed to diversify its trade relations.

He added that with this surge in demand for Taiwanese pineapples from markets such as Japan, he believes that coupled with stable growth in domestic demand, they will be able to make up the gap left by the Chinese import ban.

China was the largest consumer of Taiwanese pineapples, taking up a whopping 97 per cent of the total export volume in 2020.

All pineapple batches have been approved by China over past four months

Taiwan's Minister for the Council of Agriculture had questioned China's decision previously, calling it "unilateral" and "unacceptable".

Ma Xiaoguang, a spokesperson for China's Taiwan Affairs Office, had claimed that since 2020, China had found "harmful organisms" in Taiwan's pineapple exports.

However, Taiwan asserted that 99.79 per cent of the exported batches last year had passed inspection, the BBC reported.

In addition, it stressed that all 600-plus batches of pineapples exported to China in the past four months before the ban had been accepted.

This has fuelled speculations that the ban was politically motivated, with some even calling it a campaign of "intimidation". China had denied such claims.

Shortfall caused by China's ban was offset in just 4 days

Following China's import ban, Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen took to social media to call on people to support the island's farmers, and even started a challenge called "Eat Taiwan's pineapples until you burst".

Taiwan's efforts were not in vain.

In just four days, domestic orders for local pineapples overtook the total sold to China in 2020, Taipei Times reported.

Taiwanese people also came up with creative ways to include pineapples in their dishes.

Show of support for Taiwan's pineapples

In addition, the Canadian and American representative offices showed their support for Taiwan's pineapples by using the hashtag #FreedomPineapple.

The Canadian Trade Office in Taipei (CTOT) even posted a picture of their staff with two Hawaiian pizzas, along with the caption: "At CTOT we love pineapples on our pizza, especially Taiwanese pineapples!"

Taiwan's democratic allies such as Japan and Australia, which was also the target of import tariffs from China, showed their support for the Taiwanese domestic agricultural product as well by placing large orders, Bloomberg reported.

In addition, around 30 tonnes of pineapples had been shipped to the Chinese Special Administrative Region of Hong Kong.

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Top image via Tsai Ing-wen/Twitter & Central News Agency