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Exactly what you need before exporting seafood from USA to China

autoreBy Angus Boweron 12 Aug 2016

Export paperwork and approval - their a thorn in the side of many seafood sellers and can often seem overwhelming when all you’re trying to do is share your amazing lobsters or crabs with the world.

For suppliers in the United States, the regulatory bodies that oversee seafood export to China are the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA), which is an arm of the United States Department of Commerce (USDC). While on the Chinese side, the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ), has a specific set of rules for seafood to enter the country.

Even though it’s a headache, pre-export paperwork and approval is an essential part of cross-border seafood trade. So we’ve pulled together 4 easy and essential steps U.S. seafood suppliers need to take before selling to China.

1. USDC registration and export certificates

Before anything, your business needs to be inspected by a member of the NOAA. You’ll then be registered with the USDC as an approved exporter and receive USDC SIP Health and Export Certificates.

2. NOAA inspections

The NOAA operate in conjunction with global government and environmental standards. The inspections mentioned above are done so on a fee-for-service basis and can take a number of days depending on the size and complexity of your business (Click here for a list of all the different fees and rates). They cover a variety of areas including:

  • Establishment sanitation and inspection
  • System process audits
  • Product inspecting and grading
  • Laboratory analyses
  • Training
  • Consultation and export certification

3. Chinese approval

The USDC provides this guide as a reference for making your exports suitable to enter China. Use it like a checklist to make sure you meet the appropriate standards.

4. Air freight

If you don’t already have a relationship with a freight-forwarder or airline, get in touch with the International Air Transport Association (IATA) who will guide you in establishing the best air freight scenario for your particular business.

Paperwork and export approval sounds a lot more complicated than it really is. And even though it can be a hassle, if you follow these simple steps you’ll have no problems getting started selling your seafood to the world’s largest market of buyers.


For more information, check out our full guide to exporting seafood.

If you want to know more about easily selling seafood to China online, sign up to the online marketplace below and your local rep will get in touch with you.

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Gfresh team