China Blocks Taiwan Imports, Includes Sand For Semiconductor Manufacturing

China blocked imports of citrus and fish from Taiwan in retaliation for a visit by Nancy Pelosi, a top American lawmaker, to the self-ruled island but has avoided disrupting one of the world’s most important technology and manufacturing relationships.

China’s General Administration of Customs said in a statement Wednesday that some fish and fruit imports were suspended due to excessive pesticide residue detected “multiple times” on products since last year, as well as some frozen fish packages that tested positive for Covid-19 in June. The Ministry of Commerce said in a separate statement it banned natural sand exports based on provisions of related law but gave no further details.

The two sides, which split in 1949 after a civil war, have no official relations but multibillion-dollar business ties, especially in the flow of Taiwanese-made processor chips needed by Chinese factories that assemble the world’s smartphones and other electronics.

They built that business while Beijing threatened for decades to enforce the ruling Communist Party’s claim to the island by attacking.

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

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

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