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US ice cream firm voices 'disappointment' in China dairy export support

Ice cream manufacturer High Road has expressed its "utter disappointment" in a US system designed to help dairies in the country meet new Chinese export rules.

Georgia-based High Road Craft Ice Cream contacted to detail what it termed “the failure of the US government to support the efforts of small businesses” to export to China for the first time.

In advance of attending Asian food and beverage trade show SIAL China, High Road attempted to obtain a China Sanitary Certificate (CSC). Its “first hurdle” was to be placed on the China Approved Dairy List (CADL), which was set up by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in January 2014 to assist those interested in exporting their products to China comply with new Chinese legislation.

It did this “with little issue" and was granted a CADL number on April 22 2014. But High Road claims that a delay in the publication of the CADL meant that its “application would still not be approved” even though "the USDA, and the FDA had access to the number."

“The list was scheduled to be published on May 1,” said Jessica Taylor, culinary development manager at High Road. “Instead, nine days later, and only two days in advance of this massive trade show, the list was made public."

This, according to High Road, resulted in the spoilage of 100kg of ice cream samples destined for China.

“We were willing participants in a government effort to promote small businesses exports from the United States and are exactly the kind of company that can create meaningful trade connections overseas. The apathetic response to a very material concern for our company is wholly disheartening," Taylor added.

No “similar complaints” approached the US Dairy Export Council (USDEC), which represents the global trade interests of the US dairy industry, with High Road's complaint.

USDEC vice president of communications, Al Levitt, told in January 2014 after the unveiling of the CADL that it did not expect the list to be "burdensome or disrupt trade."

Commenting on High Road's complaint, Levitt said that USDEC was “not aware of High Road or their issues.” 

He added that USDEC does not hold the same opinion on the efforts of the US government as High Road.

“We have not heard similar complaints,” said Levitt.

“We don’t agree with this assessment."

"We've been aware of this requirement for more than two years, and the US government has had a clear and transparent process for companies to get on the approved list for export to China," he said.

Melted ice cream

High Road's addition to the CADL has since been completed. It was added to the list on May 12.

But as a result of the errors it has alleged, a 100kg shipment of High Road ice cream samples destined for the SIAL China trade show was blocked by customs.

“It was held up at the airport and unable to be released because were not able to get the China Sanitary Document in a timely fashion,” said High Road CEO, Keith Schroeder.

“While the product ultimately made it through customs, delays and red tape rendered the product unusable. It fully melted.”

Schroeder said that while it was difficult to pinpoint the exact cause of the spoilage “it’s safe to say that excessive layers of error and bureaucracy contributed to the situation.”

“I’m certain that being new to the export game is not helping our case, but it strikes this entrepreneur as a bit odd that our government would allocate so many resources to export initiatives and international trade without putting systems in place to usher novice exporters to success,” Schroeder added.

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