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China to bolster regulations after spate of substandard imports

By RJ Whitehead

- Last updated on GMT

China to bolster regulations after spate of substandard imports

Related tags Food safety law Food Food safety

China to bolster import regulations after spate of substandard imports

As imported goods gain in popularity on the back of low confidence shown by consumers in local products after years of food scandals, China’s food quality watchdogs are planning to strengthen import regulations.

Lin Wei said the country’s food safety bureau, which he heads, will increase surveillance and reinforce its risk assessment protocols. The changes will be included in an amended food safety law expected later this year, though no more details have been given.

In 2015, Lin’s inspectors have so far found nearly 1,000 cases from 79 countries of substandard imported drinks, baked goods, sweets, dairy products, spirits and dried nuts worth US$12.7m.

A number of the discoveries involved the illegal use of additives and microorganism contamination.

Vice-premier: Food fraud and scandals still ‘rampant’

Launching a national food safety week in China, a vice-premiere said food safety crime was still “rampant​”.

The newly-revised food safety law is the starting point of our actions​,” said Wang Yang, who was hosting an international conference on food safety

“We should ensure the safety of our people with the most rigorous standards, the most stringent regulation, heaviest penalties for offenders and the most serious accountability system​.” 

The new law will go into effect in October. Earlier this year, food regulators outlined the amendment to the 2009 Food Safety Law, which is expected to feature significantly heavier penalties for offenders.

In a written instruction to the conference, Premier Li Keqiang said China would gear up to guarantee food quality with zero tolerance of food safety crime. 

As well as the full implementation of the updated food safety law, Li called for a monitoring system to be established across the whole food production process, including logistics and sales. 

Food safety control should be based on the principle of prevention first and timely information disclosure​,” Wang said, urging local governments to assume responsibility for food quality.”

Dubai and China eye more bilateral trade in halal

Dubai’s market for Chinese-produced halal goods is booming, with the taste for halal manufacturing catching on quickly by Chinese firms.

Speaking to Xinhua, China’s official news service, Adil Al-Zarooni, vice president of the free zone surrounding Dubai’s main port also said that bilateral trade between China and Dubai, worth nearly US$50bn last year, would help also boost supply of halal products to world. 

Al-Zarooni’s company, Jafza, is looking to expand bilateral trade between the world’s second-biggest economy and the city state.

For the first time, trade with China last year eclipsed Dubai’s business with India, which has traditionally been the emirate’s biggest partner.

"We are very interested in supporting the New Silk Road initiative launched by China as this will further boost halal business," said Al-Zarooni. 

Approximately 7,200 licensed firms operate in Jafza, and around 200 Chinese state-owned and private firms run offices in the free zone. 

Dubai plans to become capital of the US$3tr Islamic economy, which counts an estimated 1.6bn Muslims globally.

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