EXPORTS IN CHINA Decrees 248/249: NEW REQUIREMENTS AND Registration of food product companies

The People’s Republic of China announced starting on the 1st of January 2022, the Decrees n. 248 and n. 249 issued by the General Administration of Chinese Customs (GACC).

The decrees introduce new requirements regarding food products imported from foreign countries, and impose particular obligations on all foreign producers of food products to be exported in China.

The main obligations under these decrees are:

  • The mandatory registration/approval of foreign producers of food products with the GACC.
  • New requirements regarding the packaging and labelling of imported food.

The main changes outlined by Regulation no. 248 concerns the expansion of the categories of imported products subject to registration with Chinese customs. (The Chinese food safety legislation in force until December 31, 2021 provided for the obligation to register with the administrative department responsible for import/export practices (namely, GACC) for only foreign meat producers, fish products, dairy products). For this reason, all producers already active in the export of agri-food products to China or intending to undertake this activity, are required to update and implement the new requirements and above all register their plant at the GACC.

Depending on the particular type of food, with particular reference to the level of food risk, the decrees provide different procedures for registration, and in particular:

  • Procedure A - The registration procedure through the competent authority for the exporting country
  • Procedure B - The autonomous registration procedure

As a result of the registration procedure, an appropriate identification code will be obtained and it must be indicated on each inner and outer packaging of the food.

What should the manufacturing companies belonging to List B do?

These companies must register autonomously starting from November 1st, 2021 by accessing the portal of "Registration management and foreign producers of food imported into China".

As for the duration of the registration, to date it is the GACC that provides information on the end of the period of validity.

Please note that each factory (production site) will need to have a registration account in order to obtain a registration number for each category of exported product. Therefore, a production site that exports multiple categories of products may have multiple registration numbers; in addition, each production site must have an account and if an operator owns more than one site, a registration account for each of them is required.

In addition to the requirements already set by the applicable Chinese mandatory standards (e.g. GB 7718 – General Labeling Requirements), Decree 249 GACC provides that the manufacturer must affix the identification code (obtained at the outcome of the abovementioned registration procedure) on each inner and outer packaging of the food product. In particular, the number must also be reported on the so-called unit of minimum sale.

ITA GROUP supports the agri-food companies for the registration of B procedures of companies at the Chinese customs.