On April 12, 2021, GACC issued the Regulations of the People's Republic of China on the Registration and Administration of Overseas Manufacturers for Imported Food (GACC Decree No.248). This Regulation requires all imported food manufacturers shall register the factory at GACC, and will be implemented on January 1, 2022.
On November 5, the official interpretation of GACC Decree No.248 was released by GACC. Many issues that manufacturers have paid high attention were answered in the interpretation. CIRS sorted out the highlights of the interpretation for reference.
1. Q: Will there be a transition period for the implementation of GACC Decree No.248?
A: It seems that there will be no more transition period.
Article 28 of the Interpretation mentioned: this regulation was promulgated on April 12, 2021, and will be implemented on January 1, 2022, and a transition period in line with WTO regulations has been given.
2. Q: What is the "inner and outer packaging" that needs to be marked with the registration number?
A: The outer packaging refers to the transportation packaging, and the inner packaging refers to a unit that can be sold separately with an independent packaging. As we understand it, the inner packaging refers to the smallest sales unit, and the registration number can be marked according to the relevant requirements of GB 7718.
Article 15 of the Interpretation mentioned: inner and outer packaging refers to transportation packaging and separately sold sales units with independent packaging.
3. Q: The manufactory registration of food additives and food-related products are not required, so do overseas manufacturers of food raw materials need to be registered?
A: Factories of food raw materials shall be registered. In China, food includes finished products, raw materials and items that are traditionally both food and Chinese medicinal materials.
Article 2 of the Interpretation mentioned: According to Article 150 of the Food Safety Law of the People’s Republic of China, food refers to all kinds of finished products and raw materials for human consumption or drinking, as well as items that are traditionally both food and Chinese medicinal materials, but not including items for therapeutic purposes.
4. Q: How to judge whether the product belongs to the 18 food categories that shall be recommended for registration by local authority?
A: According to the HS code.
Article 7 of the Interpretation mentioned: The HS code of imported food categories can be inquired on the official website of the GACC. And the HS code will be adjusted synchronously according to the update of the tariff code.
5. Q: If the registration of overseas manufacturers has been completed according to the old regulation, will it still be valid after the implementation of the new regulation?
A: Yes, it is still valid. Within 3 to 6 months before the expiration of the registration period, the manufacturer can apply for renewal according to the requirements of the new regulation.
Article 16 of the Interpretation mentioned: For overseas manufacturers of imported food that have been registered before the implementation of the regulation, their registration is still valid. They can apply for renewal in accordance with the relevant requirements of Article 20 of this regulation before the expiry date. Overseas manufacturers that fail to apply for renewal as required will be cancelled.
6. Q: How to understand "to be implemented from January 1, 2022"? In other words, if the registration is not completed in time, can the products produced before January 1, 2022 be imported into China?
A: Currently, there is no clear explanation, which shall be further explained by GACC. Combined with the interpretation of Article 21, CIRS estimated that “January 1, 2022” might refer to the date of customs declaration.
Article 21 of the Interpretation mentioned: When the registration of an overseas manufacturer of imported food is cancelled, the products of this manufacturer will no longer be accepted for import declarations as from the date of cancellation.
7. Expanded information: Except for the 18 food categories that shall be recommended by local authority, how to register the factories that producing other food categories?
A: As learned by CIRS, applicants can enter the system of China Import Food Enterprises Registration at the China International Trade Single Window for application. For the moment, this system is still under continuous construction and improvement.