China’s trade restraints on Taiwan after Pelosi’s visit are dwindling in the ocean

Beijing’s trade blocs against Taiwan affect about 0.04% of its two-way trade, analysts say, reinforcing that these moves in Beijing’s play tend to be mainstream. value rather than economics, analysts say.

Beijing took action against Taiwan after US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to the island earlier this month despite warnings from Beijing. That includes suspending imports of Taiwanese citrus, frozen fish, sweets and cookies as well as exports of natural sand to Taiwan.

Taiwan is a self-governing democracy, but Beijing considers the island part of its territory and a breakaway province. China says Taiwan has no right to conduct foreign relations and has warned for weeks against Pelosi’s visit.

The commercial figures show

U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi with Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen, after arriving at the presidential office on August 3, 2022, in Taipei, Taiwan. Pelosi’s visit angered China, which considers the self-governing island its own and responded with ballistic missile tests for the first time to Taipei, as well as abandoning some lines of dialogue with China. Washington.

Handout | Getty Images News | beautiful pictures

When it comes to Taiwanese imports from mainland China, more than half of the $82 billion traded in 2021 is electrical machinery, electronic parts and technology as well as nuclear reactors and boilers. a little bit.

As for Taiwan’s exports to China, 65% of which are also similar goods in terms of electrical machinery, electronic parts and technology.

Lose yourself in the ocean

This is also a small transaction compared to exports of natural sand from Australia and Vietnam, the largest suppliers of natural sand to Taiwan last year. Together, they supplied about $64 million in raw materials used in construction and other industries, accounting for 70 percent of Taiwan’s purchases, according to the country’s commerce office.

Similarly, the targeted citrus trade was valued at a relatively small $10 million last year, although mainland China is also Taiwan’s largest citrus buyer, Taiwan trade data shows. Loan shows.

Agricultural products that are currently covered by the press account for only a small part of Taiwan’s export basket. And so the headline impact on Taiwan won’t be really noticeable.

Nick Marro

Economist Intelligence Unit

Other targets such as Taiwan’s exports of bread, cakes, pastries and cookies to mainland China totaled more than $50 million last year.

Beijing’s specific suspension of two types of frozen fish, horse mackerel and halibut, worth more than $3 million by 2021, according to Taiwan’s Commerce Bureau, according to Taiwan’s Commerce Department.

“China’s economic retaliation against Taiwan is a long-standing strategy in its foreign policy books. That said, the decision to target relatively low-value trade items reflects gender limit of the country’s economic pressure toolbox,” said global trade lead analyst at the Economist Intelligence Unit, Nick Marro.

“It has had restrictions on Chinese visitors to Taiwan for a few years, which makes more economic sense; the agricultural products currently featured in the headlines are only a fraction of the total. Taiwan’s export cart. And so the impact of the title on Taiwan won’t really be noticeable.”


Beijing’s suspension of trade with Taiwan is not a new phenomenon.

In previous years, tensions between the two countries led to a ban on mainland visitors to Taiwan.

Last year, China suspends imports of Taiwanese pineappless, citing quarantine measures for the “harmful organisms” associated with the fruit. China was Taiwan’s biggest pineapple buyer up to that point.

Investment bank Natixis said China’s recent trade restrictions were focused on “highly substituted food products” and not the information and communication technology sector where the two countries are concerned. has the most commercial transactions.

The bank also said mainland China will continue to import from Taiwan as long as the country needs the goods, similar to what it has done in other trade conflicts such as those with Australia and the United States. .

In the China-Australia trade dispute starting in 2020China has limited purchases of certain commodities, such as barley and coal, but continues to buy iron ore from Australia, the main raw material for China’s steel production and a cornerstone of international trade.

There could also be other setbacks from the Pelosi visit that could affect broader regional trade. Analysts say, for example, military exercises in the Taiwan Strait could delay shipments.

“The closure of these shipping routes – even if only temporarily – has consequences not only for Taiwan, but also for trade flows associated with Japan and South Korea,” Marro said.

“It’s not just the story of Taiwan and China, but also of their neighbours.”

Analysis by logistics platform Container xChange says any rerouting by shipping lines to avoid military exercises could be problematic for the commercial world as it enters peak shipping season.

However, Container xChange CEO Christian Roeloffs said that supply chains have become a lot more resilient during the pandemic.

Customer feedback indicates that any rerouting of vessels sailing from the Taiwan Strait will take a few more days to complete the voyages, although Roeloffs does not anticipate a major impact on post-harvest costs. need.

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