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American Hardwood Export Council

AHEC Trade Alert: Update to U.S. companies interested in China's Zika requirements

On August 19, AHEC participated in a conference call with the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) and received the following update regarding the 8/18 meeting in Beijing between Chinese officials and U.S. government officials from the USDA and the Department of Commerce.

  • All U.S. – origin vessels that departed the United States after August 5 must comply with the new requirements as follow:
  • All shipments (air and sea vessels) originating from the United States are required to provide some of proof of disinsection at the Chinese port.
  • Disinsection does not require fumigation. Disinsection can be carried out by physical or chemical means. For physical, this could include trapping, air curtains, or other integrated pest management techniques. For chemical, this could include surface spraying, space spraying, or fumigation. It is the shipper’s choice, but should take into account human health and safety.
  • The disinsection requirement (and therefore the proof of disinsection) applies to the container or vessel, NOT to the goods being shipped. Therefore, if the entire vessel can provide proof, in the form of a certificate, that the vessel is free of mosquitoes, then no additional inspection needs to be carried out. 
  • Local CIQ inspectors will continue with their selective examination procedures and there will not be a separate Zika-related inspection process. However, if live mosquito eggs, larva, or mosquitoes are found during the inspection, disinsection will be required.
  • There is no disinsection certificate required for shipments that are chilled below 15 degrees Celsius (59 degrees Fahrenheit). But, if live mosquito eggs or larva are found by local CIQ inspectors at port, then disinsection will be required.
  • If there has been previous disinsection of the vessel (including fumigation) for other purposes (e.g., phytosanitary workplan), then proof of that treatment is sufficient proof for this Zika-requirement
  • Proof of disinsection does not need to be provided by a governmental body, or a government-approved body.
  • The disinsection treatment can be carried out at any point during the shipping process. For example, if the containers are disinsected before loading and certified as mosquito free, then loaded in a mosquito free environment, then this is sufficient.

Because the fumigation requirement is for the container and/or vessel and NOT the cargo (I.e. NOT for the lumber itself), AHEC recommends that you communicate clearly with your shipping company to avoid duplication. AHEC also recommends that you speak with your customers, as it has been reported that in many cases the importer of record has been paying the fumigation costs in order to minimize/eliminate demurrage charges.

The Chinese government also estimates that charges for fumigation at the port of entry will be 200 RMB (approximately $30) for a 20ft container and 400 RMB ($60) for a 40ft container. However, it has been reported that these fees vary by port of entry. The USDA/FAS is interested in hearing from U.S. exporters if the fees charged are out of line with Chinese government estimates.

  • Click here for a “template” provided by the Chinese government of the information to be included on the eradication certificate.
  • Click here for an update from FAS with background information and notes from the August 18th meeting.
  • Click here for an “unofficial” translation of the Chinese requirement.

Please direct questions or concerns to AHEC Executive Director, Mike Snow, 202.492.0540 (mobile) or 703.435.2900 (office).