On September 13, an entry point for imported pork was approved in Heilongjiang Province, allowing meat to be shipped directly from coastal ports hundreds of miles into China's interior regions. This is one of a flurry of entry points approved this month as Chinese authorities create infrastructure to support its new status as a meat importer.
Heilongjiang's designated entry point is a 6000 square-meter facility 10 km west of Zhaodong City, a food processing hub about an hour's drive northwest of Harbin, the provincial capital. Meat can be shipped to Dalian or Tianjin ports and then transported directly to the Heilongjiang entry point in its original container for inspection and quarantine procedures. The facility reportedly has 1480 square meters of cold storage space integrated with refrigerated transport and warehouse capacity to store 3000 metric tons.
This is one of four designated entry points for meat approved in September. Others are at Taicang and Suzhou in Jiangsu Province and Weihai in Shandong Province. The September 2016 listing posted on the web site of the Adminstration for Quality Safety Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ) shows a total of 56 designated entry points for meat.
The new entry points reflect a strategic decision to open China's market to meat imports. An AQSIQ bulletin published in October 2015 announced a plan to standardize regulation of entry points for meat imports and create more facilities equipped to receive, inspect, and quarantine shipments of meat from abroad. According the bulletin, the plan reflects a decision by the State Council to implement "rule of law." Specific objectives are to prevent food safety and disease risks from imported meat, facilitate foreign trade, and promote the country's "one road, one belt" strategy. The designated entry points are primarily at coastal ports. Guangdong and Shenzhen have 20 entry points between them, by far the highest concentration.
The AQSIQ bulletin also called for setting up inland entry points like the one in Heilongjiang. The inland entry points are described as "expanding the capacity to import meat to inland areas, save on costs, and make trade more convenient." Some inland entry points for meat are cities on rivers like Nanjing in Jiangsu Province, Yueyang in Hunan, and Chongqing. Other inland entry points are at the Beijing and Shanghai airports, a facility in Beijing's Pingguo, Erlenhot in Inner Mongolia, Zhengzhou and Luohe in Henan, and on a rail line in Chengdu.
The Ministry of Agriculture's 2016-2020 five-year plan for the pork industry includes a passing aspiration for "basic self-sufficiency," but it also calls for "developing international cooperation and exchange" as one of six strategies. The strategy encourages companies to both "bring in" new breeds and advanced technology as well as to "go out" to utilize foreign resources. The rationale is to raise the competitiveness and productivity of China's hog industry by encouraging companies to engage in international competition.