As part of a draft bill approved by the Cabinet last week, people who illegally export high-value indigenous Taiwanese seedlings or their derivatives could be fined or jailed for up to three years. The draft is a proposed amendment to the Plant Variety and Plant Seed Act and was introduced after China suspended imports of Tainung No. 17 pineapples, as it started cultivating these domestically.
People who trade in identified seedlings, their derivatives or related products could face a maximum sentence of three years or a fine ranging from NT$600,000 to NT$3 million (US$19,637 to US$98,187), or both, the draft amendment says. The law currently allows for a fine ranging from NT$300,000 to NT$1.5 million, but no prison time.
Valuable species are often smuggled out of the country by “business people from China and other nations,” to be grown and sold to other countries, or sold back to Taiwan, undermining the nation’s trade. The draft includes exceptions for academic and scientific research; the amendment is to be sent to the Legislative Yuan for review.