China delays food import regulations for two years after backlash – China’s latest business and technology news

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A summary of the top news in Chinese business and technology for September 26, 2017. Part of the daily SupChina newsletter, a convenient package of China’s business, political, and cultural news delivered to your inbox for free. Subscribe here.

The Associated Press reports:

“Rules requiring each food shipment to have an inspection certificate from a foreign government were due to take effect on Sunday [October 1]. But Beijing has decided to grant a ‘transitional period of two years’ following comments by other governments, according to a document submitted to the World Trade Organisation.”

According to the AP, “Governments said little in public, but a coalition including the United States, European Union, Japan, Australia and Argentina lobbied Beijing” to switch from what the European Chamber of Commerce called (paywall) a “one-size-fits-all approach” for food imports to a policy focusing on scrutinizing high-risk foods, more in line with international standards.

The current draft policy still has objectionable items to foreign governments, including stringent inspection requirements on dried fruit, cocoa, and spices, but the announcement of a two-year grace period will certainly relieve some tension with China’s major trading partners. AP notes that the participation of the U.S. in the backlash to the food import regulations reflects a renewed focus on trade issues with China, after a period during which the Trump Administration slightly set aside trade issues to gain Beijing’s cooperation on North Korea.