In April, Beijing laid out the requirement that by Jan. 1 of 2022, all foreign food manufacturing, processing, and storage facilities have to apply to the General Administration of Customs of China (GACC) before entering its market.

The new regulations cover all foods, including “low risk” such as flour and olive oil.

The close deadline, specific requirements, and procedures have sent international exporters into a panic. 

It was not until October that the CCP released documents with instructions on registration. In November, a website for overseas companies to file their applications was launched, although, the website was reported to be unstable and sometimes was inoperable.

Reuters reported on Dec. 13 that Li Xiang said the website only has the Chinese system, with an English trial version. Li is the business development manager of the Chemical Inspection and Regulation Services. 

He said no Irish whiskey producer had successfully registered their application so far.

It is unclear what would happen if companies fail to have their name cleared before the Jan. 1 deadline, and the only information available is that the CCP would allow no grace period.

According to Bloomberg, overseas companies could not tell if the shipments bound for China would release the cargo as the policy takes effect.

Some food producers and governments are also concerned that failing to follow the registration standards may result in high logistical and warehousing expenses.

A group of diplomats from seven countries had requested Beijing in a joint statement last month to postpone the deadline for at least 18 months. 

They warned that the new regulations could delay the entry of exported food into China and disrupt the global food supply chain. The COVID-19 pandemic has already created massive bottlenecks of international shipments and damaged the world economy.

Several Western diplomats alleged that the CCP introduced the food shipment law as a trade barrier to foreign products.

Andy Anderson, executive director of the Western United States Agricultural Trade Association, told NTDTV that “outside China, we have never encountered such strict (food rules).” 

He referred to these rules as “non-tariff trade barriers.”

Chinese people’s demand for imported food has increased sharply in recent years. According to a report from the US Department of Agriculture, in 2019, China’s food imports were worth US$89 billion. The country has become the sixth-largest food importer in the world.

Sign up to receive our latest news!

By submitting this form, I agree to the terms.