China Zika Rule Update

Posted August 22, 2016
Category Company News

China's Zika Rules for U.S. Exports Easier Than First Disclosed

Containers shipped from the U.S. to China that are subject to that country's regulations designed to prevent the spread of Zika virus won't have to be fumigated but can instead be disinsected, and government certification of the process is not required as once believed.

The Foreign Commercial Service, part of the International Trade Administration, outlined the requirements of Chinese authorities after members of the U.S. Embassy in Beijing met with the Director General of China's Inspection and Quarantine Ministry, documents obtained by JOC.com show.

Shippers' ability to avoid fumigation and instead use easier and cheaper disinsection methods, which generally involve spraying for insects, provides an easier way for cargo to meet Chinese requirements than previously thought. That the certificate does not need to be certified by a government agency also simplifies the process for shippers.

Chinese authorities said earlier this month that containerized goods entering the country would need a Mosquito Eradication Certificate to ensure the passage of goods, and without it, the goods might be quarantined or forced to undergo fumigation. The announcement came shortly after the U.S. was added to the list of countries where Zika is considered a threat.

While the fumigation of a 20' or 40' container at a port of entry would increase supply chain costs, such a fumigation process would also result in a delay of one to three days for the cargo.

Elements outlined by the U.S. government Thursday were:

• All containers shipped from the U.S. to China - regardless of whether they come from a Zika-affected area or not - are subject to that country's regulations, despite the fact that Florida is the only part of the U.S. where Zika is considered a serious issue.
• If an entire vessel was fumigated before or after being loaded, each container would not need to be fumigated.
• Commodities kept at 15 degrees Celcius/59 degrees Fahrenheit or below are exempt from the Zika requirements.
• Disinsection does not require fumigation. Disinsection can be carried out by physical or chemical means. For physical, this could include trapping, air curtains, or other integrated pest management techniques. For chemical, this could include surface spraying, space spraying, or fumigation.It is the shipper's choice, but should take into account human health and safety.
• No official government stamp is needed on a mosquito eradication certificate issued prior to departure. Containers covered by such a certificate do not need to be fumigated.
• Cargo that left the U.S. before the program was implemented Aug. 5 is exempt from fumigation.

The Agriculture Transportation Coalition, a Washington D.C.-based trade group for shippers, welcomed the clarifications, saying it met some of the concerns it had raised with Chinese and U.S. Authorities.

"We are pleased to see progress being made to gain clarity and find a reasonable solution towards disinsection of our members' U.S. agriculture and forest products exports to China," said spokesperson Abigail Struxness. "Some solutions are apparent, and we continue to push for improvements, such as exemptions for cargo originating in areas of the United States where Zika is not present."

(Source: Hugh R. Morley, JOC - Senior Editor | Aug 18, 2016 2:55PM EDT)

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