China blocks some Taiwanese imports but avoids chip disruptions

BEIJING (AP) — China has banned imports of citrus, fish and other food items from Taiwan in retaliation for travel. by a top US lawmaker, Nancy Pelosi, but is saved from disrupting one of the world’s most important technology and manufacturing ties.

The two sides, which split in 1949 after a civil war, have no official ties, but have multi-billion-dollar trading ties, particularly in the influx of Taiwanese-made processor chips needed by Chinese factories that supply most of the world’s largest processor chips. Assemble smartphones and other electronics.

He built that business while Beijing threatened to enforce the decades-long ruling Communist Party’s claim of an attack on the island.

Two-way trade grew 26% last year to $328.3 billion. Taiwan, which produces half the world’s processor chips and has technology that the mainland can’t match, said sales from Chinese factories rose 24.4% to $104.3 billion.

“The global economy cannot function without chips made in Taiwan or China,” Carl B. Weinberg of High-Frequency Economics said in a report.

On Wednesday, Beijing halted imports of citrus and frozen hairtail and mackerel from Taiwan after Speaker of the House of Representatives Pelosi arrived on the island. China has not interrupted the flow of chips and other industrial components, a move that would send shock waves through an unstable global economy.

Also this week, China halted imports of hundreds of other food items, including cookies and seafood, from Taiwan, although the timing was unclear. The customs website showed that their import status was “suspended”.

Fruit, fish and other foods make up a small portion of Taiwan’s exports to China, but the ban hurts sectors that are seen as supporters of President Tsai Ing-wen.

Beijing has used import restrictions on bananas, wine, coal and other goods as leverage in disputes with the governments of Australia, the Philippines and other governments.

Beijing also announced a four-day military exercise with artillery fire in the waters around Taiwan. This could delay or hinder shipping to and from the island, one of the largest global merchants.

The potential disruption added to concerns over weak global economic growth, but Asian stock markets rose on Wednesday after there was no immediate sign of Chinese military action.

communist party says Pelosi’s visit could encourage Taiwan to make permanent its decades-long de facto independence. Beijing says it will lead to war.

US President Joe Biden’s administration has tried to pacify Beijing, saying there has been no change in Washington’s “one China policy”. It says that the United States does not take a stand on the situation on both sides, but wants their dispute to be resolved peacefully.

Washington has no formal relationship with Taiwan, but maintains informal ties and is bound by federal law to see that the island has the means to defend itself.

Meeting with leaders in Taiwan, Pelosi said he and the members of Congress traveling with him are showing they will not abandon their commitment to island democracy.

“The United States’ determination to uphold democracy here in Taiwan and around the world stands out,” Pelosi said in a brief speech during a meeting with President Tsai. she left later in the day for South Korea.

“In the face of deliberately heightened military threats, Taiwan will not back down,” Tsai said.

According to the island’s government, Taiwanese companies have invested nearly $200 billion in the mainland over the past three decades. Entrepreneurs, engineers and others have moved to the mainland to work, some recruited by Chinese chipmakers and other companies that want to catch up with Taiwan.

According to the Ministry of Police, the 2020 census found 158,000 Taiwanese living on the mainland.

Taiwan plays a large role in the chip industry for the island of 24.5 million people, accounting for more than half of the global supply.

Its manufacturers, including Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Corp., make the most advanced processors for smartphones, tablet computers, medical devices and other products.

Beijing has invested billions of dollars In developing its own industry, which supplies low-end chips for autos and appliances, but cannot support the latest smartphones, tablet computers, medical devices and other products.

Next to crude, chips are China’s biggest import at over $400 billion a year.

That concentration has raised concerns about the United States and Europe becoming too dependent on supplies from East Asia. The US government is trying to expand America’s production capacity.

Overall, China is Taiwan’s largest trading partner, taking in more than double of its exports to the United States, the island’s No. 2 overseas market.

Beijing has tried to use access to its markets to undermine Tsai and other Taiwanese leaders, who are accused of pursuing independence.

The Communist Party has also used military action in the past. Trying to hurt Taiwan’s leaders by disrupting the island’s economy.

The mainland tried to drive away voters from then-President Lee Teng-hui before the island’s first direct presidential elections in 1996, with missiles fired into shipping lanes.

This forced shippers to cancel voyages and inflate insurance costs, but allowed Li to brag about standing up to Beijing in front of enthusiastic supporters. Lee won an all-round election with 54% of the vote.

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