China - Import Requirements and DocumentationChina - Import Requirements
Normally, the Chinese importer (agent, distributor, joint-venture partner, or FIE) will gather the documents necessary for importing goods and provide them to Chinese Customs agents. Necessary documents vary by product but may include standard documents such as a bill of lading, invoice, shipping list, customs declaration, insurance policy, and sales contract as well as more specialized documents such as an import quota certificate for general commodities (where applicable), import license (where applicable), inspection certificate issued by the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection, and Quarantine (AQSIQ) or its local bureau (where applicable), and other safety or quality licenses.
To help U.S. exporters of food, fishery and forestry products to China, the United States Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS), including the Agricultural Affairs Office in Beijing, prepares about 100 reports each year. These reports include new developments in commodities markets, changes in the hotel and restaurant sector, and announcements and analysis of new regulatory requirements. As China is a continental economy with diverse ecosystems and a vast variety of food preferences, it is also home to eight ministries involved in regulating food safety, quality, and trade. These agencies run the gamut of food regulation, inspection, packaging, canning, storage, labeling, quality control, record keeping and import requirements. Chinese regulators are engaged in releasing new rules that reflect the requirements and support the implementation of the 2015 Food Safety Law.
These include numerous new measures issued by the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection, and Quarantine (AQSIQ) such as registration requirements for grains and oilseeds (AQSIQ Decree 177), and live seafood (Decree 183). Similarly, the China Food and Drug Administration (CFDA) has issued registration requirements for infant formula recipes (CFDA Decree 26), health foods (CFDA Decree 22), foods for special medical purposes (CFDA Decree 24), and new requirements for on-line food trading. To help U.S. exporters navigate the many layers of regulation, FAS publishes three guides to educate exporters on the requirements, procedures, and bottlenecks that may occur for their industries. The three most significant annual reports are the:
Exporter Guide to China: This report targets those who are completely new to exporting to China.
Food and Agricultural Import Regulations FAIRS Country Report: This report identifies key regulations by commodity sector and level of processing.
FAIRS Export Certificate Report: This report identifies commodity and facility certification requirements.