HK food products pact signed

November 27, 2023

The Environment & Ecology Bureau and the General Administration of Customs of the People's Republic of China (GACC) today signed a co-operation agreement on the supervision of safety and facilitation of customs clearance of food products manufactured in Hong Kong exported to the Mainland.


The co-operation agreement seeks to fully implement the Mainland & Hong Kong Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement and the Outline Development Plan for the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area by providing a facilitating arrangement for customs clearance for food products that meet relevant requirements so as to shorten the time required for customs clearance, further enhancing the safety of local food products exported to the Mainland and facilitating trade.


The co-operation agreement will initially cover three major categories of food: beverages and cold drinks excluding alcoholic and dairy beverages; biscuits, pastries and bread as well as candies and chocolates.


The arrangement will be available at the ports under Shenzhen Customs and Gongbei Customs.


According to the Census & Statistics Department, the export volume to the Mainland of relevant categories of domestic food products in 2022 was over 46.4 million kilogrammes with the value of approximately $2.88 billion, which accounted for approximately 75% of the total value of all Hong Kong-manufactured food exports to the Mainland in the same year and about 12% of the total value of all domestic goods exported to the Mainland.


The bureau noted that the co-operation agreement will aid the monitoring of food safety from the source for Hong Kong-manufactured food products exported to the Mainland, thus achieving the goal of customs clearance facilitation.


Additionally, it will promote food trade between the Mainland and Hong Kong, the Greater Bay Area in particular, while deepening exchanges and co-operation in food safety monitoring between the Mainland and Hong Kong.


After the Hong Kong-manufactured food products of the concerned categories covered by the co-operation agreement are confirmed in compliance with the specific requirements, a food product which shows no abnormality during an on-site inspection but needs to be sampled, can be released upon completion of sampling without waiting for the results, which will facilitate the trade and promote the development of relevant local production.


The Food & Environmental Hygiene Department’s Centre for Food Safety will discuss with the GACC the operational details, including the food standard, testing method, sampling methodology and the template of the official certificates, and make necessary preparation for the implementation of relevant measures.


The new measure is expected to start in the first half of next year.

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