China bans 35 Taiwanese food exporters in warning ahead of Pelosi visit

FILE PHOTO: U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi holds news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington
FILE PHOTO: U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) faces reporters during a news conference at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S., July 29, 2022. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst/File Photo/File Photo

HONG KONG, Aug 2 (Reuters) - China has suspended imports from 35 Taiwanese exporters of biscuits and pastries since Monday, in a warning salvo to the self-governed island ahead of a potential visit to Taiwan by U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Taiwan's official Central News Agency reported on Tuesday that among the 3,200 Taiwanese companies registered with China's customs under the category of food, 2,066 entries had been listed as "import suspension."

Among the 107 entries under the category of biscuits, pastries and bread, 35 have had been listed under "import suspension", according to Reuters calculations based on registration data posted on the website of China's General Administration of Customs.

"I learned about the ban before I got off work last night," a business manager at one of the affected Taiwanese food producers told Reuters, adding that he did not know why his company was banned.

"There are food companies saying their products had been rejected at China's customs already," he said, declining to be named.

The suspensions came as China repeatedly warned Pelosi against going to Taiwan, which it claims as its own, in a visit that Beijing says would contravene the one-China principle that Washington has vowed to abide by. read more

China's General Administration of Customs did not immediately respond to Reuters' request for comments.

"We've noticed this and are trying to understand more about it," a staffer of pastries maker Kuo Yuan Ye Foods told Reuters.

It was unclear if more suspensions were looming, but Taiwan's biggest exports to China by value are electronics and parts, machinery, plastics and chemicals.

China has already suspended the import of a slew of items, including grouper fish, pineapples and sugar apples from Taiwan since last year, citing concerns about pests, which Taiwan strongly denied. read more

Taiwan's Council of Agriculture said it would take the relevant measures to help the latest companies affected by the "short-term" suspension, it said in a statement.

In 2021, China's imports from Taiwan reached a record $189 billion, according to official Taiwanese data.

Reporting by Meg Shen and Beijing newsroom; Editing by Bernadette Baum

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