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Taiwan lifts ban on hundreds of products from rival China

SHARE Taiwan lifts ban on hundreds of products from rival China

TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — Taiwan lifted a ban on hundreds of agricultural and consumer imports from China on Wednesday, the island's first move toward opening its market to its communist rival since joining the World Trade Organization.

After the two sides split amid civil war five decades ago, Taiwan blocked the import of most Chinese products. The small island feared it would become too economically dependent on China, which has threatened to attack.

But since the two sides recently joined the WTO — which sets rules for global trade — Taiwan has felt the pressure to open up its markets to China.

On Wednesday, the government announced that next month the ban will be lifted on more than 900 food products, including raisins, cherries, salad oil, beer, squid and lobster. However, Taiwan was not ready to allow the import of peanuts, tea leaves, garlic and mushrooms.

Taiwan will also begin allowing the import of more than 1,200 types of industrial and consumer goods, such as bicycles, computers, cameras, rice cookers, computer parts and plastics, a government statement said. However, the Taiwanese market would still be closed to Chinese refrigerators, cars and washing machines.

Following WTO rules, the island will also allow indirect Chinese investment in service industries, such as tourism, retail sales and accounting.

Direct investment by Chinese firms will not be allowed now because Taiwan has yet to change regulations that prevent Chinese citizens from legally living, working and seeking an education for their children in Taiwan, the statement said.