Procedures and Conditions for Exporting Seafood to China

Exporting Seafood to China is a potential but challenging opportunity for Vietnamese businesses. China is a large and lucrative consumer market, an attractive opportunity for Vietnamese enterprises when exporting seafood to China. However, to be successful, companies need to strictly comply with regulations on export procedures, documentation, labeling, packaging; understand China’s import policies, standards and consumer tastes. The article below provides detailed guidance from SSR Logistics on the export steps and important notes to help businesses effectively exploit business opportunities in the Chinese market. 

Conditions for Exporting Seafood to China 

To export seafood to China, although the conditions may change depending on the product type and legal regulations of the two countries, at least the following two basic requirements must be met: 

  • First, the seafood export facility must be granted an export code number, meaning it is recognized as meeting the conditions and capabilities to participate in exporting seafood products to China. Being granted this export code means the facility meets standards for food safety, hygiene conditions, traceability, and other relevant regulations for seafood exports. 
  • Second, the batch of seafood exported to China must go through inspection, certification, and quarantine procedures according to the bilateral agreement between Vietnam and China. This ensures the batch meets all technical standards, food safety requirements, and other conditions imposed by China on imported goods. 

Meeting these two basic conditions is the first and extremely important step to ensure the seafood export process to China goes smoothly and successfully. Additional detailed requirements may apply depending on the specific case. 

Procedure for Exporting Seafood to China 

To export seafood to the Chinese market, businesses must comply with the following requirements for the batch to be allowed import into China: 

Step 1: Register and obtain an export code (GACC code) 

  • The business must register with the competent authority of Vietnam to obtain an export facility code for exporting seafood to China (GACC code). 
  • The production facility must meet food safety and hygiene standards as regulated by China. 

Step 2: The export batch must be inspected, certified and quarantined according to the Vietnam-China agreement 

  • Prepare export documents including certificate of origin, animal quarantine certificate, food safety certificate and other required documents. 
  • Register and publish product information with Chinese authorities (register product labels in Chinese, declare ingredients, production process). 
  • Prepare and package goods according to quality standards, food safety regulations, and Chinese requirements. 
  • The quarantine authority will inspect the goods and issue an animal quarantine certificate for the batch. 

Step 3: Complete customs procedures as a normal batch 

  • Transport the batch to the border gate. 
  • Clear customs for the goods at the border gate. 
  • Transport goods to the import destination in China. 

In addition, businesses must pay special attention to China’s traceability requirements when exporting seafood to China market, ensuring products meet traceability standards.  

Procedure for Exporting Seafood to China 

Traceability Requirements when Exporting Seafood to China 

Packaging Requirements for Seafood Exports to China  

To ensure smooth customs clearance for seafood exports to China, businesses must pay close attention to packaging and labeling requirements: 

Packaging Requirements

  • Packaging used must be sturdy, uniform in material and style for the same product type. 
  • Labels must be printed directly on the packaging before packing, ensuring they are fixed in a consistent position for each product type. 

Label and Marking Requirements

  • Labels and markings for frozen seafood must be printed directly on the packaging. 
  • Markings must include the scientific product name, production date, batch number, storage conditions, production method, production area, company name, code and export destination to China. 
  • Font size, color of markings must be uniform for the same batch. 
  • Markings must be printed before goods leave the factory, no temporary printing, stamping or bagging after printing is allowed. 

Mandatory Product Label Content:

  • Trade name and scientific name of the product 
  • Specifications, production date and batch number 
  • Storage condition instructions and production method (caught or farmed) 
  • Product production area 
  • Name, code of processing/manufacturing company and destination to China 
  • Font size, color and position of label must be uniform for the same batch 
  • Labeling must be completed before packing, no temporary printing, stickers or other methods allowed 

Requirements for Production Facilities 

To ensure quality and meet China’s strict food safety requirements, seafood exporters must meet the following production facility conditions: 


  • Factories, equipment and labor must fully meet food safety standards per Regulation QCVN 02-01:2009/BNNPTNT. 
  • Businesses need to develop and implement a quality management program per Regulation QCVN 02-02:2009/BNNPTNT to ensure strict quality control throughout production. 

Quality Management Program

  • Seafood exporters to China must develop and implement a HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points) quality management program for intended export products. 
  • HACCP helps identify, assess and control potential hazards in seafood production and processing to ensure the highest food safety standards. 


  • Businesses must develop and implement product traceability and recall procedures per Circular 03/2011/TT-BNNPTNT. 
  • Traceability systems allow tracking of raw material and product origins from inputs to finished goods, enabling quality control and product recalls when issues arise. 

Product Labeling

  • Product labeling must comply with Decree 43/2017/ND-CP on goods labels and meet Chinese market requirements. 
  • Export packaging must be printed with full information and ensure sturdy packaging (except for iced seafood products). 

Exporter Code

  • Seafood exporters to China must obtain an exporter code issued by the Department of Agro-Forestry-Fisheries Quality Management. 
  • The exporter code certifies the business is permitted to export seafood to the Chinese market. 

Experiences in Strictly Managing Origin Traceability for China 

Based on past lessons about labeling, seafood exporters to China should note: 

  • Thoroughly review label and packaging information to ensure accurate trade names in Chinese for seafood like pangasius. 
  • Comply with China’s labeling regulations, which may change over time, so update the latest rules. 
  • Provide complete and accurate information: Product name; Ingredients; Weight; Production date; Expiry date; Manufacturer info; Importer info (if any). 
  • Use clear, readable text of appropriate size. 
  • Use high-quality, non-fading, non-peeling ink for printing labels. 
  • Ensure labels are securely affixed to product packaging. 

Additionally, note some new regulations on labeling and traceability for seafood exports to China effective 9/14/2018: 

  • Vietnamese goods not inspected will not be allowed for trading at border markets in China. 
  • All imported seafood except iced seafood must be produced at facilities registered with Vietnam. 
  • When declaring imports, businesses must present a seafood certificate issued by Vietnamese authorities. 

Strictly complying with labeling and traceability regulations will enable smooth import of Vietnamese seafood into China and avoid unnecessary technical barriers. 

Online GACC Registration Process 

To facilitate businesses, the online GACC registration process has been simplified and includes the following steps:

Step 1: Request to Create/Confirm Registration Account 

  • The business accesses the website of the Plant Protection Department of Vietnam (BVTV) and fully completes the information as instructed to request a GACC registration account. 
  • Accurate and complete business information must be provided, including company name, tax code, address, contact details, etc. 

Step 2: Receive your Account and Register on the CIFER System 

  • After receiving notification from BVTV that the account has been created/confirmed, the business uses this account to register or change registration information on GACC’s CIFER system. 
  • The CIFER system is an online platform for businesses to register and manage information related to seafood exports to China. 

Step 3: Prepare Registration Dossier 

  • The Plant Protection Department will notify the business to prepare the GACC registration dossier as required. 
  • The registration dossier includes documents such as a business registration certificate, food safety condition certificate for the production facility, export product dossier, etc. 

Step 4: Submit Registration Dossier 

  • The business submits the completed GACC registration dossier to the Plant Protection Department as instructed. 
  • BVTV staff will review and guide the business to complete the dossier if needed. 

Step 5: Transfer Dossier to GACC 

After the registration dossier is reviewed and confirmed as complete, the Plant Protection Department will transfer it to GACC for evaluation. 

Step 6: Dossier Evaluation and Approval 

  • GACC will evaluate the business’s registration dossier according to regulations. 
  • If the dossier is valid, GACC will approve and issue a GACC code to the business.

Registering Certification for Export Batches to China 

After obtaining the export company code, the business needs to take the following steps to register for certification of export batches to China: 

Register according to Vietnamese Customs regulations

  • The business accesses the Vietnam National Single Window (NSW) and registers for an electronic certificate for the export batch as per Vietnamese Customs regulations. 
  • The electronic certificate is an e-document issued by Vietnamese Customs certifying the origin and quality of exported goods. 

Register according to Chinese Customs regulations

  • The business submits a dossier to register for a paper certificate for the export batch according to Circular 48/2013/TT-BNNPTNT dated 11/12/2013 of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. 
  • The registration dossier includes an export declaration, commercial invoice, plant/animal quarantine certificate, food safety certificate, etc. 
  • The paper certificate records information about the export batch, issued by branches of the Department of Agro-Forestry-Fisheries Quality Management (under Vietnam’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development) after inspecting the batch. 


  • Businesses must ensure the information in the registration dossier is accurate and complete. 
  • The certification registration process may take some time to complete. 
  • Businesses should regularly monitor information on the websites of Vietnamese and Chinese Customs to update any changes in registration procedures. 

After receiving both types of certificates, the business can export the seafood batch to China via land/sea border gates as a normal export batch.

SSR Logistics – Comprehensive Services for Seafood Export to China 

Vietnamese seafood exporters are facing difficulties transitioning from unofficial to official exports, especially in meeting China’s traceability requirements. 

SSR Logistics’ Comprehensive Seafood Export Service to China 

With over 15 years of experience transporting seafood to China, SSR Logistics provides a comprehensive service to simplify the export process, including: 

  • Consulting and supporting complete export procedures 
  • Ensuring compliance with China’s traceability, labeling and packaging requirements 
  • Safe transportation following the proper route to Chinese border gates 
  • Handling customs clearance 
  • Tracking and providing status updates on shipments 

Through this article, SSR Logistics hopes customers now have an overview of the conditions and procedures for exporting seafood to China. For more articles, please visit our Logistics Knowledge section.    

SSR looks forward to becoming your reliable logistics partner, providing optimal solutions for your importing and exporting business. Should you have any question regarding our services, please feel free to contact us for specific advice.   

With our experienced team, extensive network and flexible shipping & customs solutions, SSR Logistics is confident to deliver excellent services to our clients.  

Businesses that need customs and import-export consulting China – Vietnam, please contact SSR Logistics via Hotline (+84) 911 988 484 or leave your information here for specific advice. 

With a modern warehouse system and experienced transportation staff, SSR Logistics provides a variety of additional services such as: customs clearance, warehouse leasing, domestic transportation, international transportation by sea and air, and international express delivery

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