China: Update February 2022

New requirements for Registration of Overseas Producers of Imported Foods

As noted in previous updates, China has implemented its new requirements for ‘Registration of Overseas Producers of Imported Foods’ at the end of 2021, requiring wine producers to self-register online with General Administration of Customs of China (GACC) for any products being exported. While there remains a level of uncertainty, the process is now in force as of 1 January 2022 and any wine business exporting to China will need to ensure they self-register before exporting. Wine Australia have released recent guidance material available here to support Australian Producer compliance with the regulation.     

World Trade Organization action

Australia’s World Trade Organization (WTO) dispute settlement action with China’s duties on Australian wine continues. On 26 October 2021, WTO’s Dispute Settlement Body agreed to establish a dispute panel to examine the case. As part of the normal process for WTO disputes actions, Brazil, Canada, Chinese Taipei, the European Union, India, Japan, Korea, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, the Russian Federation, Singapore, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, the United Kingdom, the United States and Vietnam joined the dispute as third parties. The formulation of the WTO dispute panel is expected soon in early 2022.

More broadly, there has been some recent media attention raised over the EU’s WTO action against China in relation to alleged trade pressures being imposed on Lithuania. Australia last week publicly announced it intends to join this process as an interested third party. While there has been some media attention seeking to link this announcement to Australia’s current dispute actions with China, its political relations with China or the EU, there is minimal relation. As is apparent from the list of third counties participating in Australia’s own WTO dispute with China on wine, it is a normal part of the WTO dispute process for countries, often with no direct involvement, to join the process as interested third parties.

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