Navigating Compliance: Key Steps and Legal Strategies for Exporting Chicken Paws to China

We have published two articles regarding the signifcant changes and prcedures on food import in China, please refer to the following. In this article, we will look at it from a different perspective.

  • Impact of GAC Decree No. 249 on International Food Trade)
  • (2. A Step-by-Step Guide for Exporting Chicken Paws to China)

Exporting chicken paws to China offers significant market opportunities for producers, but it also comes with strict regulatory requirements. Failing to comply can lead to severe consequences, as illustrated by a recent incident involving a U.S. exporter. In early 2021, a shipment of chicken paws from the United States, valued at approximately $1 million, was detained at a Chinese port due to missing permits and incomplete documentation. This article explores this case and provides essential advice for exporters to avoid similar pitfalls.

 Case Study: US Chicken Paws Detained by Chinese Customs

In early 2021, a U.S. exporter faced a costly setback when their shipment of chicken paws was detained by Chinese customs. The primary issues were:

1. Missing Health and Safety Certificates: The shipment lacked proper health and safety certificates from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) confirming the chicken paws met Chinese safety standards.

2. Incomplete Overseas Producer Registration: The exporting company had not completed the necessary registration with the General Administration of Customs of China (GAC).

3. Lack of Animal and Plant Quarantine Approval: The shipment did not have the required quarantine approval from Chinese authorities.

These deficiencies resulted in significant delays, additional costs, and the risk of the shipment being rejected or destroyed.

Key Steps to Ensure Compliance and Avoid Detention

To prevent such issues, exporters should follow these essential steps and working with Legal Professionals to draft and review trade contracts. These contracts should clearly outline the duties and obligations of each party involved in the export process.

Key elements to include are:

– Responsibility Assignment: Clearly define the responsibilities of the exporter, importer, and any third-party logistics providers.

– Compliance Obligations: Specify compliance with Chinese import regulations, including necessary permits, certifications, and documentation.

– Risk Mitigation: Include clauses for risk mitigation, such as insurance coverage, handling of detained shipments, and procedures for addressing non-compliance issues.

– Dispute Resolution: Establish mechanisms for dispute resolution, such as arbitration or mediation, to handle potential conflicts efficiently.


Exporting chicken paws to China presents lucrative opportunities, but it requires careful adherence to regulatory requirements. By understanding and complying with Chinese regulations, preparing thorough documentation, and working with legal professionals to draft comprehensive trade contracts, exporters can minimize risks and ensure a smooth export process. Taking these steps will help avoid costly detentions and enhance the chances of successful market entry into China.

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