Suddenly China informed us about the pineapple pests and immediately banned the import of our products. We believe it is not in accordance with international trade rules.

Wang Mei-hua

Taiwan’s Minister of Economic Affairs

Most pineapples in Taiwan are consumed domestically, according to Reuters. However, 90% of the export goods were sold to China last year.

“All of a sudden, China informed us about the pineapple pests and immediately banned the import of our products. We believe that it does not comply with international trade rules,” Wang told CNBC’s Emily Tan on Wednesday.

“But we will do our best to ponder and discuss this issue with China. In the meantime, we will try to diversify our great products and sell them to other markets outside of China,” she said, according to a translation of her comments in Mandarin.

A street vendor selling pineapples seen on the street of Taipei. While China bans the import of Taiwanese pineapples, Taiwan’s leaders urge its people to buy more pineapples to minimize the impact on farmers.

Ceng Shou Yi | NurPhoto | Getty Images

Support in the US and Canada

Diplomats from the US and Canada have also shown support for Taiwan and its pineapples. The two countries have no formal diplomatic relations with the island, but they are closely linked.

Canada’s Taipei trade office posted a photo of its employees posing with pineapples and pizza on their Facebook account. The post contained the hashtag #FreedomPineapples.

Separately, the American Institute in Taiwan used the hashtag #pineapplesolidarity and shared pictures of the tropical fruits on offices and bookshelves. It has also published recipes that use pineapple.

Last week, a bill introduced in the House of Representatives called on the US to resume diplomatic relations with Taiwan, negotiate a free trade agreement and support the island’s membership in international organizations.

Wang, Taiwan’s economy minister, said Washington and Taipei have “long-standing” ties, both economically and strategically. They also have strong collaborations in the semiconductor industry, she said.

“If we could have a free trade agreement in the future, we would definitely welcome and pursue it as it would further strengthen our economic ties,” she added.