All Overseas Food Manufacturers shall Register the Factory at GACC before Entering China Market?

On November 26, 2019, the General Administration of Customs, P.R.China (GACC) issued the Administration Measures on the Registration of Overseas Manufacturers of Imported Foods (Draft) (herein after called as the Draft) for public comments. Comparing to the current regulation, 3 significant changes shall be taken seriously by the overseas manufacturers and local authorities:

1. Registration scope planned to be expanded to all imported foods

Current Regulation

I. Overseas manufacturers whose food categories are listed in the Registration List shall obtain the overseas manufacturers registration before exporting the products to China.

II. Currently, only the overseas manufacturers of meat product, aquatic products, dairy products (including infant formula) and edible bird’s nest need to apply for registration.

Draft

Overseas manufacturers of imported food that export food to China shall obtain the registration approval from GACC.

Provisions relating the Registration List were removed in the Draft. The registration scope is planned to be expanded to all imported food categories, which means, in addition to the current 4 food categories, overseas manufacturers of all else food categories (such as health food, food for special medical purposes, and even beverage, candy, etc.) need to carry out the registration.

2. Different food categories, different registration management methods

Based on the risk analysis results, the overseas manufacturer registration will be carried out based on a classification system. In addition, for imported food with higher levels in food safety risks and in consumer sensitivity, GACC will implement an annual verification and reporting system to corresponding registered overseas manufacturers.

CIRS estimates that high-risk or sensitive food (such as meat products, aquatic products, dairy products and edible bird’s nest) will be under priority supervision, while other low-risk food categories may have relatively simple registration and supervision requirements.

3. Highlight the responsibilities of the exporting country’s competent authority

The overseas manufacturer registration application shall be recommended to GACC by the exporting country’s competent authority (hereinafter called as local authority), rather than applied by the manufacturer himself. 

The local authority shall participate in the supervision and management of the manufacturers before, during and after the registration. Also, when inadequate supervision of the local authority occurs, GACC may suspend to accept his recommendation, or suspend the registration qualification of individual or all enterprises recommended by the local authority. Thus, the responsibilities of the local authority are crucial.

In addition, there are some other obvious changes of this Draft:

More review and verification methods: After the local authority of the oversea food manufacturers submit the documents to GACC, GACC may organize to do the on-site inspection of the manufacturer. This Draft rules that beside on-site inspection, there will be more flexible inspection methods like “Remote video casual inspection”.

Add the responsibility of Chinese importer: This Draft emphasizes that the Chinese importer shall check the overseas food manufacturer had got the registration and confirm the name, address and registration code of the manufacturer are correct and real.

Extend the validity of registration certificate: The validity of registration certificate of this Draft changed into 5 years from 4 years in the current version.

Summary

The most significant change in this Draft is that beside the previous dairy products (including infant formula), meat products, aquatic products, and edible bird’s nest, all the other food categories including health food, food for special medical purposes, infant food, wines, prepackaged food like beverages, candy, chocolates, etc. shall also register the manufacturer at GACC before entering Chinese market. CIRS will follow up with the formal release of this Draft.

CIRS Group is a global product compliance consulting firm. With its headquarters based in Hangzhou of China and subsidiaries or laboratories located in Ireland, the United States, Korea, Beijing, Nanjing, and Ningbo, CIRS Food Business Division utilizes its Localization advantages of domestic offices and network of overseas subsidiaries to provide more professional and timely Chinese food regulation compliance services for oversea food companies entering China, including supporting of oversea manufacturer registration service.

Note: The deadline for the feedback on the draft for comments is December 25, 2019. The public can submit comments in the following ways:

1. Submit feedback in the bottom box of official web of GACCs: http://www.customs.gov.cn/customs/302452/302329/zjz/2712639/index.html

2. Submit feedback by email: wang-gang@customs.gov.cn

3. Submit feedback by paper letter: Address: 北京市建国门内大街6号 海关总署进出口食品安全局,Zip:100730

If you have any question regarding the registration of oversea food manufacturer or want to entrust CIRS to submit feedback in Chinese, please do not hesitate to contact at service@cirs-reach.com