China’s General Administration of Customs (GACC) recently issued notices to update rules for fruit imports from Thailand and allow imported passion fruits from Laos, if they meet the inspection and quarantine requirements.

On September 13, at the sideline of the 7th China-ASEAN Ministerial Conference on Animal and Plant Quarantine and Food Safety Cooperation, GACC signed (link in Chinese) a bilateral Proposal on the Inspection and Quarantine Requirements for the Import and Export of Fruits between China and Thailand to Transit through Third Countries with the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives of Thailand (MACT), and a Protocol on Plant Quarantine Requirements for Fresh Passion Fruit Exported to China from Laos with its counterparts in Laos. The recent notices are the domestic implementation of the two protocols.

The GACC Announcement No. 89 of 2021 (link in Chinese) opens more ports for fruit shipments to ease the traffic problems at current ports and routes. It lists 16 ports for fruit imports and exports, adding seven (link in Chinese) new ports. In addition:

  • It states that the GACC and MACT should exchange information on orchards and packaging plants, as well as labeling samples for shipping containers and packages.
  • It sets up requirements related to packaging, labeling, and phytosanitary certificates.
  • It requires fruit containers not to be opened or changed when transporting in third countries.

This new rule took effect on November 3.

Thai government spokeswoman Rachada Dhnadirek previously said that “the protocol will allow Thailand to export fruit through more border checkpoints in China and Thai exporters can use transport routes to address problems and facilitate shipments.”

According to MOFCOM (link in Chinese), Thai fruit exports to China reached US$2.42 billion for the first half of 2021, a year-on-year increase of 71.11%. Currently, 22 types of fruits may be traded between China and Thailand. Several other Thai fruit varieties are the subject of applications for market access in China.

The GACC Announcement No. 90 of 2021 (link in Chinese) sets out requirements for orchards and packaging plants in Laos that are involved in passion fruit exports to China, including the requirement of relevant orchards and packaging plants to record with the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry of Laos (MAF) and register with GACC.

It also lays out some requirements for packaging, inspection, and phytosanitary certificates of passion fruit exports.

The notice lists four types of quarantine pests of concern to China: Alternaria passiflorae, bactrocera correcta, Lasiodiplodia theobromae, and passion fruit woodiness virus. It states that if GACC finds any of these pests in import shipments, GACC will destroy or return the goods, notify MAF of relevant information, and suspend the import of passion fruit from relevant orchards and/or packaging plants, until sanitary requirements are met again.

This new rule took effect on November 5.