Move to bring export quality to domestic foods gathers steam in China

By RJ Whitehead

- Last updated on GMT

© iStock
© iStock

Related tags International trade

A campaign launched last year to encourage Chinese food companies to bring the same production processes used for exported goods to those sold locally has attracted more than 1,500 brands.

Now more than RMB10bn (US$1.48bn) of export-quality products have been sold on the Chinese market, according to the Certification and Accreditation Administration.

The campaign has seen nearly 5,800 products, from farm produce to frozen snacks and seasonings, go to market across China since it began. The administration now hopes this number will grow significantly as the policy gathers steam.

To encourage exporters to supply the local market, the CAA has been providing them with support and guidance on how to promote domestic sales.

China has nearly 20,000 certified companies that export food and agricultural products valued at more than US$50bn to more than 180 countries each year, according to the administration.

One Gansu-based fruit juice manufacturer said that recently launched domestic sales now account for some 20% of its total business.

Previously, Longnan Changcheng only sold its products outside China, but has since found that domestic growth has outpaced its exports to overseas markets.

This is despite the higher production costs needed to maintain export standards make its product lines around 50% more expensive than those of its competitors in domestic stores.

"The overseas market has not been performing well in recent years because of the economic downturn​," operations manager Qiao Yajun told China Daily​. 

"We hope our business can develop even faster in the domestic market​.”

Meanwhile, a meeting chaired by President Xi Jinping has decided that China must comprehensively improve the way it monitors, evaluates and handles safety risks.

The meeting of the Central Leading Group for Deepening Overall Reform determined that the country must “perfect​” its food-safety systems and increase its supervision of imported and exported commodities. 

To do so, Xi ordered local and national government departments to demonstrate how they have been making progress in detection at a time when imports have grown at a rate of almost 3% per year.

China inspected and quarantined imported food worth US$46.6bn last year, according to a report by the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine. 

Beijing has taken a personal interest in food-safety measures in recent years, and is increasingly conscious of the effect on consumer confidence that food-related scandals can have.

This is one of several pronouncements the leadership has made in recent months on reforming the supervision of food systems.

Earlier this month, China’s vice-premier, Wang Yang, urged local governments, businesses and the public to work together to promote food safety.

Previously, Premier Li Keqiang had publicly blasted confused and conflicting administrative processes and poor supervision that could threaten confidence in safety reforms. 

Related topics Policy Supply chain China East Asia

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