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China Strengthens Regulations on Imported Honey Products

By EU SME Centre | Article      08.08.2016     Tags: Food & Beverages

15 EU Member States’ Honey Products are Eligible to be Imported into China

Written by Helen Ju, Senior Legal Consultant, EU SME Centre

Since 28 April 2016, the Chinese government has strengthened its regulation on imported honey products. One of the new measures is defining a list of countries/regions whose products are eligible to be imported to the Chinese market. 

Currently 15 EU Member States are included in the list. See below the names and types of products eligible to be imported: 

  1. Estonia: Honey
  2. Austria: Honey
  3. Bulgaria: Honey
  4. Belgium: Honey
  5. Poland: Honey
  6. Denmark: Honey
  7. Germany: Honey, Royal Jelly
  8. France: Honey
  9. Romania: Honey
  10. Portugal: Honey
  11. Spain: Honey
  12. Greece: Honey
  13. Hungary: Honey
  14. Italy: Honey, Royal Jelly
  15. UK: Honey
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The list was published as a part of the Catalogue of Food Exported to China from Countries or Regions which Comply with Assessment and Review Requirements or Have Traditional Trading Relationships with China (符合评估审查要求及有传统贸易的国家或地区输华食品目录). To access the full Catalogue, visit the official website here.

In addition to honey products newly added, the Catalogue also provides information for other seven types of products, among which meat, aquatic products, dairy products and bird’s nest have already been regulated strictly for years.

The Catalogue was published and is managed by the Import and Export Food Safety Bureau (the “Bureau”) of the General Administration of Quality Supervisions, Inspection and Quarantine of the People’s Republic of China (“AQSIQ”). 

The legal basis for formulation and implementation of this Catalogue is Article 7 of the Measures for the Administration of the Safety of Imported and Exported Food. It states that “AQSIQ shall assess the food safety management system and food safety status of the countries or regions that export food to China in accordance with Chinese laws and regulations and conduct retrospective review as required for the supervision and administration of the safety of imported food”. Therefore only products from countries/regions listed in the Catalogue are allowed to be imported. 

The countries appeared in the Catalogue related to honey products are decided based on the amount imported into China during the past 10 years. Only those exceed the threshold set by the Bureau are listed. 

If your country is not listed in the Catalogue, consult the relevant authority in your country in charge of honey products administration, for example, agriculture department or food department. They could send a letter through the embassy in China to the Bureau under AQSIQ, expressing the intention to export honey products to China. 

The Bureau will respond in writing detailing the process to go through and provide a questionnaire for your authority to fill in, which aims to assess the food safety management system and food safety status related to honey products.

As disclosed by an officer of the Bureau, the next step AQSIQ plans to implement is a registration process for foreign honey product manufacturers, same as what is already required for foreign manufacturers of meat, aquatic products, dairy products, and bird’s nest.  

To contact Helen for further insights, send your enquiry via Ask-the-Expert channel and select “Legal”.
Further Reading

Top 20 Countries/Regions Exporting Honey Products to China by Trade Value from January to June 2016 

Country \ Value (USD)

New Zealand: 24,014,181
Australia: 3,526,456
United States: 1,189,778
Russia: 1,061,927
Germany: 1,060,926
Canada: 980,796
France: 814,940
Spain: 679,575
Romania: 456,448
Thailand: 447,383
Mexico: 442,268
Malaysia: 429,374
United Kingdom: 388,006
Poland: 272,721
Kirghizia: 216,355
Taiwan: 194,839
Turkey: 180,358
Hungary: 151,309
Austria: 134,001
Source: Customs Data, Commodity Statistics, cis.e-to-china.com
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