WASHINGTON, D.C., U.S. — China’s regulatory requirements for imports of distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS) are complex, stringent, and a serious burden for U.S. ethanol plants, but the U.S. Grains Council (USGC) said its recent DDGS regulatory mission holds promise for improving the situation.

"With China, simply making the effort to build a relationship is valuable in and of itself," said Mike Callahan, USGC senior director of international operations. "This mission was an important step toward building confidence and good relations, but we also hope it may lead to some rationalization of the regulatory process. If that happens, it would be a huge success."

The current process calls for each ethanol plant to submit a dossier of paperwork to China’s Ministry of Agriculture (MOA), which then refers the application to the China National Feed Industry Association (CFIA) for review. Once CFIA evaluates the application, it goes back to MOA where the CFIA assessment can expedite the final approval process. Once MOA grants approval, the company is legally registered to export DDGS to China.

"The council has been helping companies work through this very detailed process for some time," said Callahan. "Now, registration is becoming more critical because MOA has stepped up its activities and could call for border [arrival port] enforcement at any time, especially in view of the anti-dumping case which has elevated DDGS profile in the market and among government officials."

The July mission brought eight CFIA representatives, including two presidents from China’s top 10 feed groups, to the United States for firsthand exposure to the U.S. ethanol industry and a better understanding of U.S. government and private sector organizations and their roles in DDGS production, marketing and exports.

By the mission’s end, participants indicated they would continue to encourage and assist U.S. ethanol producers with MOA registrations.

Citing the quality and supply of DDGS, they also said CFIA will continue to support U.S. exports to China and will try to request a very limited duty on U.S. DDGS in China’s pending anti-dumping investigation so that DDGS imports would still be available to meet Chinese feed and livestock demand.

"Along the way, we hope mission members got enough assurances that they may be able to reduce some of the complexity so the whole process will go smoother," Callahan said.