TAIWAN – China has suspended some shipments of beer, liquor, and other beverages from Taiwan, making a total of 2,409 companies hit with import suspensions, since the pineapple ban in 2021.

The Chinese authorities have suspended 123 out of 354 beverage and 11 out of 28 beer and distillery items registered for export from Taiwan.

Affected goods included Taiwan Beer, which is produced by the state-run Taiwan Tobacco & Liquor Corporation; Kinmen Kaoliang, the distinctive sorghum liquor from the outlying island of Kinmen; and craft beer brand Taihu, which had been expanding its Chinese market in recent years.

King Car, which produces international award-winning Kavalan Whiskey, and the Uni-President Corporation, one of Taiwan’s largest conglomerates and the operator of the dominant convenience store chain 7/11, were also affected.

According to Taiwanese Minister of Finance Su Jain-rong, Taiwan sells about NT$3.7 billion (US$120m) in beer and liquor each year to China, and Beijing’s shipment suspension could initially lead to a loss of about NT$1 billion (US$32.56 million) for affected companies.

Since January, the Cabinet has held several meetings to discuss the new Chinese customs registration system, and issued instructions to Taiwanese exporters on how to respond to it, Su said.

The suspension of beer, liquor, and other beverage shipments from Taiwan came just two days after Chinese customs authorities banned some of Taiwan’s fishery products, citing a failure to comply with a new customs registration system that China introduced last year.

In the latest case, the registration of some of the affected Taiwanese beer, liquor, and beverage exporters was not due to expire until 2026 or 2027.

Commenting on the ban on Taiwan’s seafood, Zhu Fenglian, a spokeswoman with China’s Taiwan Affairs Office, said the new registration system, which was introduced in April 2021 in a bid to enhance food safety, became effective on Jan. 1, 2022.

Zhu added that some of Taiwan’s food exporters failed to provide full information under the new registration system, so they were unable to secure approval to ship their products to China.

She noted it was a normal monitoring mechanism for a country to protect its food safety and urged suppliers to provide the necessary information to register.

However, according to Su, what puzzled most applicants of the new exportation permits was that China never responded to why their applications were rejected.

Speaking to the country’s newsrooms, Minister of Economic Affairs Wang Mei-Hua said the new Chinese customs registration system is unreasonable and an “ambush” against Taiwanese exporters.

She feels the latest mechanism is biased against Taiwanese exporters, as Chinese authorities had asked that they provide more information to complete their registration about a year before similar requests were made of exporters from other countries.

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