China holds to schedule for new rules on food imports despite calls for delay by trade partners


China’s new rules on food imports will take effect on Jan. 1 as planned, even after trading partners including the U.S. and Europe urged Beijing to delay the rollout, saying the policy would further disrupt supply chains.

Food imports into China from next year will have to meet new registration, inspection and labeling requirements, customs authorities said in a notice dated Dec. 13.

The measures, which were first announced in April, cover a broad range of products from royal jelly to vegetable oils and infant food.

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According to Bloomberg, diplomats from seven economies, which also include Australia, Japan, Canada and Switzerland, have urged China to delay the policy for at least 18 months, citing a lack of clarity on how it will be implemented.

They’re concerned that a failure to comply will result in costly, last-minute logistics delays, and risk disruptions to global food supply chains at a time when the world is already experiencing serious shipping bottlenecks due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The new rules require all overseas food manufacturers, processors and storage facilities to be registered with Chinese customs.

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Producers of goods that belong to 18 specific categories would require recommendations by authorities in their home countries, while others must self-register via an online platform.

China has said the move will help create an “effective food safety and sanitation management system” and ensure that food imports meet national regulations and food safety standards, according to the customs notice in April.


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