Cutting through China’s red tape

Cutting through China’s red tape article image

Tackling China’s registration red tape can be the biggest hurdle to exporting for Australian SMEs, but changes to the regulatory landscape may make it quicker and less expensive. 

Good news for first-time exporters to China. Changes to regulatory requirements may see the approval time and cost of registering Australian cosmetic products in China reduced.

“A new regulation, set to be trialled from 1 March, 2017, will allow first-time importers of non-special-use cosmetics to enter into China through the Shanghai Pudong New Area port, with reduced approval time and cost,” says Mike Liu, China Trade Advisor, NSW Business Chamber.

“However, the requirements for record filing are still unclear; it is expected that there will be a further announcement about the details.”

Negotiating the regulatory landscape

For businesses interested in tapping into China’s growing demand for Australian goods, negotiating the regulatory landscape is one of the biggest challenges.

Chris Gregory, Managing Director of market-leading emu oil supplier Emu Tracks, has experienced first-hand how challenging the changing regulatory landscape can be.
Having seen interest in the company’s therapeutic oil grow over the last five years, during which time they were regulars at Cosmoprof, Asia’s leading trade fair for the beauty and wellness industry, Mr Gregory decided to look into exporting to China.
“Except for occasional orders placed through our online store, we have had very limited opportunity to break in to China, principally due to the restrictions and duties applied to our products,” he says.

“For the last 18 months we have been researching the registration process for skin care products in China.” In that time, they “have changed several times”.

Overall, he believes that the changing regulatory landscape offered by the Chinese Government is one of the biggest hurdles for Australian companies attempting to break into China. “It is confusing and difficult to establish an accurate picture,” he says.

In 2016 the company signed up for NSW Business Chamber’s Export Growth China program, which partners with Australian SMEs to showcase their products in China and match them up with local distributors, importers, retail chains and online marketplaces. 

Emu Tracks has since signed a contact with a big cross border e-commerce company.

Think ahead and be prepared

According to Liu, all products that are classed as medicine, cosmetics, food and food additives are all required to be registered with the relevant Chinese Government Department before they can be sold or exported to China, however the “actual registration requirement for each product varies”.

To smooth the process, he suggests having the information to hand:

  • Ensure ingredients are clearly and correctly identified
  • Record the processing procedure for the product
  • Outline the function of the product
  • Any relevant Australia standards for the product
  • Information on storage methods
  • Packaging materials

To explore your export potential, visit the Export Growth China website or call 1800 505 529. 


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