A Chinese mainland official has stated that the mainland attaches great importance to the call of Taiwan farmers and fishers to resume agricultural and aquatic product imports from the island. Song Tao, head of both the Taiwan Work Office of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council, made the remarks during a meeting with Huang I-cheng, chairman of the association for agriculture and fishery exchange, development and investment across the Taiwan Strait.
In his address, Song said that peace, development, exchange and cooperation are the common aspirations of compatriots across the Strait. He added that supporting Taiwan farmers and fishers to share development opportunities on the mainland serves the common interests of compatriots on both sides of the Strait. The resumption of agricultural and aquatic products is expected to facilitate the growth of the economies on both sides of the Strait.
Huang I-cheng expressed his eagerness to collaborate with his compatriots on the island to promote cross-Strait exchanges, cooperation, and the peaceful development of cross-Strait relations.
However, the resumption of agricultural and aquatic product imports from Taiwan to the mainland will only be allowed on the premise of meeting inspection and quarantine standards. This is to ensure the safety of both the consumers and the environment in the mainland.
The suspension of agricultural and aquatic product imports from Taiwan was one of the most significant measures taken by the mainland in response to Tsai Ing-wen’s refusal to acknowledge the ‘One China’ policy. The ban was put in place in June 2016 and was said to be one of the primary reasons behind the 10.5% decline in Taiwan’s agricultural and fishery exports in 2017.
With the recent thawing of tensions across the Strait, there has been a growing expectation for both sides to restore the economic relationship. This was reflected in the increase of tourists to Taiwan from the mainland. In 2018, more than 2.6 million mainland tourists visited Taiwan, which was a new record high.
The resumption of agricultural and aquatic product imports is expected to boost the confidence of the Taiwanese farmers and fishers who have been hit hard by the ban. It is also seen as a significant step towards the normalization of cross-Strait relations. As cross-Strait exchanges and cooperation continue to expand, it is hoped that this will lead to greater peace, stability, and prosperity across the region.