Food exporters seek clarity regarding China's new Export Certificate for Foodstuffs

8 May 2017


British food and beverage exporters have been seeking answers since China announced a change to requirements for import documentation, due to come into full effect on 1 October 2017.  This change, noted in January's edition of International Trade of Quarterly would require each incoming shipment to be accompanied by a new Export Certificate for Foodstuffs

A sample uncompleted certificate has been made available by China's national inspection and quarantine service (AQSIQ), and the procedure has been voluntary since last year, was introduced on a voluntary basis last year.  Neither of these measures have been sufficient to clarify how such a procedure would work in practice after 1 October.

Of particular note is the requirement for each certificate, which includes details specific to the shipment (e.g. weight, production/ best before date, means of transport) to be signed and stamped by a "competent authority".  This "competent authority" thereby certifies that production, packing, transport were under its own supervision, and also that the products meet AQSIQ's own standards.

Unsurprisingly, it is hard to imagine which UK body (or bodies) would take on such a responsibility if the proposals are introduced in their current form.  There is an analogy to the current requirement for shipments of meat and dairy produce to China to be accompanied by a Health Certificate signed by a pre-approved local "competent authority" under the supervision of a central one.  However, the extension of such a model to other types of food would not be a simple matter.

Chamber International understands that AQSIQ is discussing this plan with its counterparts in other countries, including the UK. According to the China Britain Business Council,  Defra is carrying out an option analysis on the agency best placed to issue these certificates. They say that the process will be confirmed and communicated to industry with a sufficient lead-in period before the requirement comes into force.  

Chamber International is monitoring the situation, and sharing information together with other organisations in this regard.

Though these things should be resolved soon, if you have concerns it may be worth planning to clear Chinese customs in advance of 1 October 2017 in order to avoid possible issues with the implementation of this ruling.


Contact for further advice.


Follow Chamber International on Twitter @ChamberInt and on Facebook for the latest in international trade.

Chamber International edge - One of the most powerful technologies available to make exporting simple.