Filipino food exporters were told to comply with China’s new registration requirements that take effect on Jan. 1, 2022 to sustain smooth and hitch-free trading with the world‘s biggest consumer market.
Agriculture counselor to the Embassy of the Philippines in Beijing Ana Abejuela said the General Administration of Customs of China issued on April 13, 2021 Decree 248 stipulates the regulations on the registration and administration of overseas producers of imported food.
The decree expanded the scope of registration to include all food manufacturers, processors and storage facilities, while product scope includes all food products except food additives and food-related products.
Abejuela said the registration is done through the exporting country’s authority and self-registration.
“What would be the implication if we cannot comply with the requirements of [Decree] 248? I think it’s simple: no registration, then no trade. That is why, this is very, very important,” she said.
Abejuela said product categories for registration include meat and meat products, casings, aquatic products, dairy products, bird nest and bird nest products, bee products, egg and egg products, edible oils and fats, stuffed pastry products, edible grains, milled grain industry products and malt, fresh and dehydrated vegetables and dried beans, condiments, nuts and seeds, dried fruits, unroasted coffee and cacao beans, foods for special dairy purposes and food supplements.
The new regulation modifies and expands the conditions and procedures for registration as stated in Chapter II of the regulation. This includes the additional requirement that the food safety management system of the exporting country passed GACC’s equivalence assessment or review.
Under the new regulation, registered overseas facilities are required to include the Chinese registration number or the registration number approved by the exporting country competent authority on both the inner and outer packaging of food products exported to China.
“The registration of overseas facilities completed before the implementation of Decree 248 will remain valid. After the expiration of the validity period of these registrations, the relevant manufacturers/facilities shall be managed in accordance with the new regulations,” Abejuela said.
Products with signed protocols/agreements are not covered by Decree 248. However, Decree 249, the administrative measures on import and export food safety, focuses more on ensuring safety of food imported into China.
It covers an extensive range of requirements including evaluation and review of foreign food safety systems; overseas facilities registration; record filing by importers and exporters, and commercial agents; quarantine and inspection; product labeling; and food safety risk alerts, Abejuela said.
“The decree stresses that producers and operators are accountable for the safety of the food products they produce and handle,” she said, adding it requires food importers to establish a system for review of their suppliers, overseas exporters and production facilities.
Abejuela said Decree 249 introduces the concept of a conformity assessment covering the evaluation of foreign food safety management systems, the registration of overseas food export facilities and required record filing by importers and exporters.