Taiwan rejected Chinese report on “trade barriers” and accused it of political interference before elections

The vice president of Taiwan and presidential candidate of the Democratic Progressive Party (PDP), Lai Ching-te (EFE/EPA/RITCHIE B. TONGO) (RITCHIE B. TONGO/)

China’s Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) announced this Friday that Taiwan’s restrictions on Chinese products constitute “trade barriers” after an investigation lasting several months.

The Taiwanese Office of Trade Negotiations (OTN) responded that China investigation violates World Trade Organization rules (WTO) and that the conclusions do not align with the facts.

The MOFCOM investigation concluded less than a month before Taiwan’s presidential elections, scheduled for January 12.

The spokesperson for the Taiwan Affairs Office (TAO) in China, Zhu Fengliansaid that the authorities of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (PPD) violated the relevant provisions of the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) bilateral.

Zhu expressed that the TAO supports the initiatives of relevant authorities in China to take “appropriate measures” in response to the findings.

The port of Keelung, Taiwan (REUTERS/Ann Wang/File)
The port of Keelung, Taiwan (REUTERS/Ann Wang/File) (ANN WANG/)

For its part, in its statement, the Office of Trade Negotiations stated that both sides of the Taiwan Strait are members of the WTO and that related trade issues should be handled in accordance with relevant WTO mechanisms and regulations.

He added that if China is sincere, both parties can initiate consultations at any time through the WTO mechanisms to resolve trade disputes.

Meanwhile, the president’s general secretary, Lin Chia-lung, he responded during a forum organized in Taiwan. He said the timing of China’s investigation, just weeks before Taiwan’s presidential election, is an attempt to “election interference”. And he added that Taiwan still hopes to resolve the trade dispute through the WTO dispute settlement mechanism.

Taiwan frequently accuses Beijing of trying to exert pressure, whether military or economic, to ensure an outcome favorable to the Chinese regime.

Lai Ching-te, of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party, is the favorite to be Taiwan’s next president, according to polls. China considers him a separatist and has rejected repeated offers of talks.

(With information from Reuters)