AN EXPORT industry group said China is imposing non-tariff barriers via its requirement for exporters shipping food to China to register with the Mainland government.

China last year notified the World Trade Organization (WTO) of proposed regulations that would require food manufacturers, processors, and storage facilities to register before exporting their goods to China.

The rule, China said in its notification, is intended to ensure food safety and protect consumers.

“That’s an imposition of a non-tariff barrier, which makes exporting to China more difficult,” Philippine Exporters Confederation, Inc. (Philexport) Chairman George T. Barcelon said in a mobile message on Monday.

“The DTI (Department of Trade and Industry) will be requested to intervene for the removal of such a requirement.”

Philexport in a statement Friday said that the DTI has invited its members to a consultation to discuss the possible effects of the regulation on the export industry.

In a letter sent to the WTO in March, the US said it is urging China to carefully consider the implementation of what it called restrictive regulations, which it said have no clear food safety benefit.

The US said that the measure, along with possible new export inspection and quarantine rules, could affect all food products regardless of the risk they pose.

“We anticipate that these draft measures, if implemented, would likely create major trade disruptions for every country that exports food and agricultural products to China, and especially for developing countries whose competent authorities may have limited capacity to meet China’s proposed requirements,” the US said.

Set to take effect next year, the registration measure will cover all food products except additives.

Depending on the type of food, companies must either be recommended by their country’s authority for registration or register directly with Chinese customs. Each country’s food safety management system must pass China’s assessment. — Jenina P. Ibañez