ARLINGTON, VA. — Exporting pet food products to China is expected to become clearer and more streamlined thanks to a new protocol released by the US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS).

The protocol is set to go into effect on Aug. 15, 2020.

“For nearly a decade, United States pet food manufacturers have been hamstrung in their ability to access the world’s third largest pet population due to China’s unclear and opaque requirements guiding how American-made pet food and treats could be imported,” said Constance Cullman, president and chief executive officer of the American Feed Industry Association (AFIA). “China’s unscientific demands to remove ruminant-origin ingredients only compounded the problem, forcing United States pet food manufacturers to make costly decisions to reformulate their pet food and treats or lose out in this marketplace."

The new procedure is designed to create transparency for United States manufacturers exporting pet foods that contain ruminant ingredients. It also eliminates barriers previously required by China to provide facility questionnaires and audits before exporting.

Additionally, the protocol addresses the potential risk of pathogens in poultry products transmitted through pet food. AFIA welcomes the new protocol, saying it is “a continued sign of progress between the two countries,” especially in regard to implementing phase one of the recent trade agreement struck between the United States and China.

“We thank the APHIS staff for working throughout the public health emergency to hold up the United States’ end of the bargain in this trade deal and we promise to hold up ours by continuing to produce high-quality, diverse and nutritious food and treat options for China’s pets,” Cullman said.

Peter Tabor, vice president of regulatory and international affairs for Pet Food Institute (PFI), commented, “PFI has acknowledged the Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR) and USDA for their efforts to negotiate the Phase One agreement’s pet food provisions, and now we thank USDA APHIS for their hard work since the February entry into force of the agreement to finalize with their Chinese counterparts the certificate language. This significant achievement means United States pet food makers now have meaningful access to one of the world’s largest and fastest-growing pet food markets. PFI stands ready to work with our members to take full advantage of this remarkable opportunity.”

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