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China updates its Food Safety Law; food exporters advised to register
Monday, March 18, 2013
In compliance with China’s Food Safety Law, the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ) published two additional implementing regulations concerning food exported to China, namely Public Notice 55 and Decree 145.
Public Notice 55 requires registration of all food exporters using an online platform, while Decree 145 requires registration by accreditation of food manufacturers who export their products to China, the Philippine Trade and Investment Centre (PTIC) in Beijing reported.
Public Notice 55: Registration of Food Exporters
Per AQSIQ Public Notice 55, all food exporters including agents and Chinese importers are required to register through an online filing and management system from October 1, 2012 onwards.
According to PTIC-Beijing, this web-based registration requirement appears to be an effort to collect and organize food exporters, agents, and importers’ information in a single system.
For exporters, information required includes their company name and address, contact person, contact details, and food category. After submitting the registration, the system will generate a unique serial number for each exporter. The registration information must be maintained such that any change in an exporter’s circumstances should be promptly updated in the system.
In their report, PTIC-Beijing advised exporters who have not yet registered to do so immediately while working closely with their importers. The registration form can be completed via http://ire.eciq.cn.
As of March 8, 2013, the online filing and management system showed a total of 160 registrations from the Philippines. This number, however, pales in comparison to registrations from other ASEAN countries.
Decree 145: Accreditation of Food Manufacturers
Per AQSIQ Decree 145, which will be administered by the Certification and Accreditation Administration (CNCA) and take effect on April 30, 2013, only products from registered/accredited food exporters who are producers/manufacturers/processors shall be imported into mainland China.
CNCA will only accept application for registration/accreditation of food exporters to China if they have the approval or clearance of relevant competent authorities in their respective home countries (e.g. Bureau of Food and Drugs, Bureau of Plant Industry, Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources), and that their companies meet the sanitary conditions and other relevant provisions of the laws and regulations, standards and codes of China with regards to food safety.
The registration will be valid for four years, and should be renewed a year before it expires. Philippine food manufacturers exporting to China should check the status of their registration and confer with their respective certifying agencies to secure proper accreditation from CNCA.
Registration and Accreditation: A Matter of Priority
Food manufacturers/exporters should consider the registration and accreditation requirement a matter of priority to avoid any trade disruption, advised Zafrullah Masahud and Christine dela Cruz, commercial officers of PITC-Beijing. At the same time, exporters should conduct due diligence and proceed cautiously in China as an export market as they are bound to “modify regulations and standards periodically to ensure that food hygiene regulations and standards meet the needs of food importation and exportation to protect consumer health.”
China has been a net food importer since 2004, and is likely to increase the value of its food imports as its domestic food production capability decreases with expanding industrialisation and urban to rural migration.
According to Zhu Jing from the College of Economics and Management of Nanjing Agricultural University China’s consumption growth will continue to exceed its production growth to feed 1.3 billion Chinese accounting for almost 22% of the world’s population.
Based on China Customs Statistics, China’s January 2013 food imports and exports totalled USD 13.39 billion, up 21.3% year-on-year (YoY). Therein, exports reached USD 5.17 billion, up 7.5% YoY; imports reached USD 8.22 billion, up 32% YoY.
Click to download related files:Guide for online registration of exporters and agents exporting food to China, and importers consignees within China