When China joined the World Trade Organization, it fueled hopes that U.S. beef and pork exports to the country of 1.2 billion people would increase. Traders have yet to see how China’s bureaucracy will handle its new responsibilities and commitments.

China’s meat import and quarantine authority has just published new-post WTO meat and livestock product import regulations and procedures. The regulations, which were made without notification to foreign supplying governments, are set to go into effect Sept. 1.

There has been some concern over a stipulation in the new regulations stating that only product accompanied by health certificates listing the Chinese consignee will be allowed entry at the ports. Currently, a significant amount of product entering China is accompanied by health certificates listing Hong Kong consignees, as most frozen meat and poultry is shipped through Hong Kong.

The regulations codify many of the meat import procedures that have been in effect since China joined the WTO. The regulations also specify approvals for import permits will take up to 30 days and that the permits are valid for three months. The full regulations are posted at www.ciq.gov.cn/doc/english/.

Despite the post-WTO accession trade problems, the total volume of pork and pork variety imports into Hong Kong, was up 11 percent for the first six months of 2002, compared to last year. Hong Kong is considered a good barometer to the health of the Chinese pork trade.