Highlights:

  • China exempt purchases of U.S. soybeans, pork and other agricultural products from punitive tariffs.
  • Chinese government’s official testing method for Genetically Modified crops is SN/T 1204-2016.
  • Pork products eligible for export to China must comply with the Chinese Ractopamine Control Program.


U.S. and Chinese officials traded olive branches in September when President Donald Trump delayed a new round of tariffs on Chinese goods, and the Chinese Commerce Ministry announced an end to its ban on American soybeans, pork, and other farm goods. The exchange of conciliatory goodwill is seen as a welcome step forward in resolving what has been a tenacious trade dispute between the two global juggernauts. Nevertheless, most economists see no final resolution or trade deal coming in the remainder of 2019.

The negative impact on U.S. soy is readily apparent. At the same time, the Chinese economy has slowed significantly. The Chinese Commerce Ministry has approved purchasing a “certain amount of U.S. farm produce,” and “hopes the United States will be true to its word” regarding a trade deal. For their part, U.S. officials look to an upcoming meeting in early October as an opportunity for Chinese officials to do likewise.  

The Chinese produce a massive amount of pork for global markets while their domestic consumption has skyrocketed. Recently, Chinese pigs have been decimated by African Swine Fever and,  as a result, Chinese pork prices have climbed steeply as demand has far exceeded supply. Low-Cost American soybeans, used for feed, would help the Chinese mitigate some of the cost pressure. This would be welcome by American farmers who have struggled with the significant dropoff in demand as a result of the Chinese ban.

Although Chinese agencies have yet to place significant orders for American soybeans, there is cause for measured optimism. It remains to be seen if talks can progress in earnest. Thus far, they have not. Nevertheless, deferring or reversing escalation is a sign that both governments recognize the mutual benefits of selective de-escalation and the downsides of a trade war in general.    


China Non-GMO Regulations

In early 2019, after more than six years of deliberation, the Chinese government has approved a number of genetically modified (GM) crops for import. Soybean, canola, and corn are the most prevalent commodities affected by the new Chinese regulations. With the U.S. is the largest producer of GM crops, Canada a significant exporter of canola, and the Chinese the largest importer of GM crops in the world, the Chinese demand for GM varieties could spike significantly.    

To better manage the pending influx of GM crops from abroad, the Chinese government has rolled out its own official testing method, SN/T 1204-2016. A real-time PCR method, SN/T 1204-2016 represents a versatile, well-formulated approach to GMO testing. We anticipate that a few years from now this method may be required for commodities coming into China.  

Using SN/T 1204-2016 can facilitate U.S. soy and Canadian canola exports to China, help establish credibility with Chinese buyers and regulators, and solidify seller commitment to burgeoning Chinese markets. Mérieux NutriSciences offers the People’s Republic of China SN/T 1204-2016 method from GMO testing. This testing profile satisfies both the Chinese government and the Non-GMO Project requirements. 


China Ractopamine Requirements

The controversial growth promotant ractopamine has been banned in China since 2013 and has been under a watchful eye by Chinese customs inspectors since. Pork products eligible for export to China must be produced in accordance with a Ractopamine Control Program. This Control Program must be in line with AMS’s Never Fed Beta Agonist Program or a specifically developed, written ractopamine-free program.

A component of the program must include a supplier verification testing program for proper carcass sampling. Slaughter facilities must test each lot.  If a lot tests positive using a screening method, the lot could be diverted for other use or re-tested using an AMS-approved laboratory for confirmatory LC-MS/MS testing.

Test results for each lot intended for export must be accompanied by an establishment’s FSIS Application for Export Certificate. Certificates of Analysis (COA) are thoroughly reviewed by Chinese customs officials and could be rejected if suspected fraudulent. Test results indicating the absence of ractopamine should be clear and signatures should appear smooth and continuous to indicate authenticity.

Mérieux NutriSciences offers AMS-approved ractopamine testing laboratories in North America. We offer a robust LC-MS/MS method validated against CFIA’s reference method CVDR-M-3021.09 at both our Crete, IL and Burnaby, BC laboratories. The detection limit is 0.2 ppb. Certificates of analysis offered in Mandarin, upon request, to help facilitate a smooth export process.


Contact us to learn more about Chinese export requirements, GMO services, and Ractopamine testing.

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