Trade Standards Compliance Capacities in China
IDE Policy Brief
In late 2001 and 2002, Chinese frozen spinach imported by Japan was found to contain residues of the pesticide chlorpyrifos. In August 2002, the Japanese government issued advisory notices to halt imports of frozen spinach from China, which had the effect of stopping the imports of all frozen vegetables from China into Japan. This incident put food safety in regards to imports from China to Japan at the top of the agenda. While the rejection of products imported from China is large in absolute terms, the rejection rates of Chinese products are much smaller when the overall volume of trade is taken into account.
Trade standards compliance capacity of China
Table 1 lists the number of Japanese rejections of exports from China, grouped by food product group. The table shows that two food product groups account for the bulk of the rejections. These categories are “Fish and fishery products” and “Fruit and vegetables.”
|Fish and fish products||170||145||76||73||96|
|Fruits and vegetables||137||131||55||104||63|
|Nuts and edible seeds||44||38||23||21||20|
|Herbs and spices||19||15||7||3||7|
|Cereals and bakery products||24||44||12||7||7|
|Other processed foods||8||7||5||13||4|
|Number of rejections|
|Veterinary drug residues||262|
|Others microbiological contaminants||1|
Additional policy levers
While compartmentalization and the resulting vertical integration has led to improvements in food safety among export products, further actions aimed at smallholder farmers and small-scale food processing firms are needed to improve the overall food safety in China. First, stricter control of pesticides and other production input materials is needed to ensure that banned substances are not used. Second, formal agricultural technical extension services in China need to be strengthened to improve knowledge of food safety among farmers. Third, investment in cold chain facilities is necessary to maintain the quality of food throughout the supply chain and for future export development.
- The report can be downloaded from http://www.ide.go.jp/English/Publish/Download/Collabo/UNIDO_2013.html
- In addition to the report, the detailed case studies can be downloaded from http://www.ide.go.jp/English/Publish/Download/Dp/390.html (frozen vegetables) and http://www.ide.go.jp/English/Publish/Download/Dp/418.html (eel).
- It is also possible that Chinese firms have diverted those products containing additives prohibited in the Japanese market to other markets.