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China Regulatory Matters Breaking News: AQSIQ Gives Food Industry Two-Year Extension on Imported Foods Certification Requirement

On September 25th 2017, China notified the WTO of an addendum[1] to Notification G/TBT/N/CHN/1209[2] providing a transition period of two years to implement the controversial certification requirement for foods exported to China, which is set forth in the proposed Administrative Measures on General Certification of Imported Food (hereinafter "Administrative Measures").

The notification states that "according to the comments and application received, China decided to provide a transitional period of 2 years for the Measures, namely from October 1st 2017 to September 30th 2019." 

China has been thinking of implementing a certification system for imported food since 2016. After consulting with stakeholders, a draft regulation was officially notified to the WTO on June 19, 2017, which mandates that foods exported to China be accompanied by an official certificate issued by a competent authority in the exporting country to confirm that the food is manufactured under proper government supervision and is suitable for human consumption. Failure to submit such a certificate will result in a rejection at the port of entry in China. 

As we reported in the latest CRM regarding the draft Implementing Regulations of the Food Safety Law, one of the key concerns on the proposed certification is that it applies to every imported food without distinction based on associated food safety risks. Notably, certain high risk foods, such as seafood and dairy products, are already subject to certain types of certification requirements in China. We understand industry has made suggestions to China to modify the requirement, such as granting exemption to low risk food and seeking clarification on the content of such certificate. 


[1] Click here.

[2] Click here.

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About this Author

David J. Ettinger, Keller Heckman, Partner, Food and Drug Corporation, International Trade Lawyer, Attorney, Shanghai, China

David Ettinger joined Keller and Heckman in 1999. Mr. Ettinger represents domestic and foreign corporations in the area of food and drug law.

Mr. Ettinger relocated to Keller and Heckman's Shanghai office in November 2012 to focus on the Asian market and counsel companies in the Far East on food, drug, and chemical regulatory matters. He has extensive experience counseling clients on product development and product protection of food and drug packaging in the United States, Europe, Asia, Canada, and South America. From 2006-2007, Mr. Ettinger...

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Jenny Li, Keller Heckman, China Food, Drug Regulation, Shanghai, International Trade
Legal Consultant

Jenny Li joined Keller and Heckman in October 2007.

Ms. Li counsels clients on regulatory issues focusing on food and drug, with an emphasis on regulatory regimes in the Asia-Pacific region. She also counsels clients on food labeling, food claims, food additives, as well as, important issues regarding food imports in Asian countries.