DTI seeks feedback on China measure requiring registration of PH food exporters

The Department of Trade and Industry-Bureau of Philippine Standards (DTI-BPS) is seeking comments from concerned stakeholders on a draft regulation from China requiring the registration of overseas manufacturers, processors, and storage facilities that export food products to China.

In an invitation letter received by the Philippine Exporters Confederation, Inc., BPS said a consultation meeting will be held on May 24, 2021 at 10 a.m. to discuss the possible effects of the draft regulation on Philippine exporters to China.

In his letter, BPI director Neil P. Catajay said China notified “The Regulations of the People’s Republic of China on the Registration and Administration of Overseas Manufacturers of Imported Food (Draft for Comments)” to the World Trade Organization (WTO) on November 16, 2020.

The draft regulation was notified to the WTO-TBT Committee as G/TBT/N/CHN/1522. The notification came after continuous requests from WTO members for China to notify the draft regulation, said the letter.

Countries including Mexico, South Korea, Switzerland, United States, and Japan have earlier raised concerns against the measure, noting the measure will be “burdensome” and “restrictive.”

On April 12, 2021, the General Administration of Customs of China (GACC) announced “The Regulations on the Registration and Administration of Overseas Producers of Imported Food” as GACC Decree 248.

The decree will require that all overseas food manufacturers, processors, and storage facilities be registered with the Chinese authorities to be able to export products to China. The measure covers all food products except food additives.

The draft measure will enter into force on January 1, 2022, replacing the Administrative Measures for Registration of Overseas Producers of Imported Food (Decree 145).

Some of the salient features of GACC Decree 248 are the following:

■ Expands the scope of overseas facilities subject to a registration requirement to include all food manufacturers, processors, and storage facilities. The product scope includes all food products except food additives and does not include “food-related products” (which is not defined in the regulation).

■ Manufacturers, processors, and storage facilities of the following product groups must be recommended by their country’s competent authority for registration with GACC: meat and meat products, sausage casings, aquatic products, dairy products, bird nest products, bee products, eggs and egg products, edible oils and fats, oilseeds, stuffed wheaten products, edible grains, milled grain industry products and malt, fresh and dehydrated vegetables, dried beans, condiments, nuts and seeds, dried fruits, unroasted coffee and cocoa beans, foods for special dietary purposes, and health foods.

■ Manufacturers, processors, and storage facilities of foods other than those product groups are required to register directly with GACC, either on their own behalf or via a private agent.

 Modifies and expands the conditions and procedures for registration, including the addition of a requirement that the food safety management system of the exporting country has passed GACC’s equivalence assessment or review.

 Specifies that evaluations must be conducted via document review, video inspection, and/or on-site inspection.

■ Provides that registration is valid for five years versus four years under Decree 145.

 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.

Parties wishing to participate in the meeting may send their name, email address, and organization’s name to Jasmin E. Metre at JasminMetre@dti.gov.ph.

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