China’s importing pineapples from Taiwan is an industry that has been growing steadily for several decades. However, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) announced that as of Monday, it would ban imports of the tropical fruit due to the bad relationship that has been growing between the two countries.
In response to the measure that will strongly affect Taiwanese producers, Japan decided to import pineapples as a measure of repudiation towards the CCP and quickly emptied the shelves.
The ban on pineapple imports, which began on Monday and is indefinite, was announced by the Chinese customs office on Friday last week when authorities falsely claimed that harmful pests had been detected in recent shipments—a desperate attempt by the CCP to discredit Taiwan.
Taiwan’s government rejected the claim, accusing Beijing of making an “unacceptable” unilateral decision and urging citizens and international allies to eat “freedom pineapples” supporting the domestic industry. Their action echoing the campaign to support Australia’s wine producers after Beijing imposed hefty tariffs after suspending imports in 2020.
Beijing has a history of enacting trade sanctions during international disputes, most recently on Australian wine, coal, and barley, an action aimed at causing significant economic damage to the industry and putting pressure on rival governments.
Relations with Taiwan are the most contentious in decades. Although the CCP never ruled Taiwan directly, Beijing considers it a province of China and has vowed to link it to the mainland—by force if necessary.
However, it seems that the CCP’s intention to discredit Taiwan’s commercial image had the opposite effect. Many countries showed their solidarity and began negotiations to import the pineapples that were ready to be sent to China, which started the “Taiwan pineapple fever” in the networks.
According to media reports, one of the countries where Taiwan pineapple fever hit hard is Japan, where shoppers emptied the Taiwanese-grown tropical fruit from shelves.
To show their support for Taiwan after the import ban announced by the CCP, Japanese companies had booked more than 6,000 metric tons by March 4, breaking previous records.
Also, Japanese netizens spoke out in support of Taiwan with comments such as: “The CCP’s ban on Taiwanese pineapples only proves that they are of good quality. If the CCP won’t buy them, we Japanese will buy them. I bought some immediately and am eating them.”
On the other hand, Japanese media reported that Taiwan is being “bullied” over its pineapple exports to Japan. Many outraged Japanese pledged to buy more Taiwanese pineapples to show their support, giving rise to the so-called “Taiwan pineapple fever.”