Inaugural U.S.-China Vessel Comparison Study Continues in China

By - Thursday, May 30, 2013

On the heels of the Vessel Comparison Study (VCS) conducted at the Tacoma Export Marketing Company (TEMCO) in Seattle / Tacoma last February and March, U.S. and Chinese inspection teams met again in China to complete the collection of soybean samples for grading and testing on MV Lady Marite, the first soybean vessel to undergo this study.

The U.S. team traveled to the unloading ports in Zhoushan and Zhangjiagang, led by Foreign Agricultural Services (FAS) Beijing Agricultural Attaché Melinda Meador and joined by representatives from USSEC, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), Federal Grain Inspection Service (FGIS), and North American Export Grain Association (NAEGA).  At these ports, the U.S. team witnessed the Chinese inspection and quarantine process on imported soybeans and visited Chinese labs for sample testing and analysis.  The U.S. team also probed samples at different levels in the vessel holds at the destinations together with their Chinese counterparts, exchanging views on quality and quarantine issues.  A wrap-up meeting was held to discuss the findings, next steps and proposals for better implementation of the memorandums of understanding between China’s Administration of Quality Supervision Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ) and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).  During the meeting, the Chinese inspection and quarantine officers, led by Mr. Huang Yajun, AQSIQ Director of Animal and Plant Division, expressed serious concerns on quality and quarantine issues such as treated seeds, weed seeds, chemical residues, and foreign materials, as well as unapproved biotech events in the American soybean shipment.

The goal of this joint inspection program is to reach a mutual understanding between the inspection and quarantine agencies of both countries, to reach consensus on technical issues, and to remove current and potential technical barriers to soybean trade with China.  USSEC China Country Director Zhang Xiaoping, and Marketing Program Assistant Zeng Yantian participated in this activity to work with the Chinese and U.S. inspection teams on the comparison study and to represent the interests of U.S. soy.

U.S. FGIS inspector Raymond Kirkpatrick (middle) is shown in discussion with Chinese CIQ inspectors at Zhangjiagang port.