China ICAMA Details Import/Export Management of Pesticides at AgroChemEx


Photo taken by ChemLinked reporter Fang Lin at AgroChemEx on 17 Oct, 2013.

As a major agrochemical market and the largest agrochemical supplier in the world, China’s pesticide exports rose by 26.8% to some 7.86 billion USD in 2012. Imports amounted to some 560 million USD, reflecting an 8.2% year on year growth rate. Dumping and counterfeit issues have challenged the Chinese industry from both an international trade perspective and a regulatory perspective. On Day two of the AgroChemEx 2013 conference in Shanghai (China International Forum on Procurement and Service of Pesticides), Mr. Zhang Wenjun, Division Director of International Exchange and Service from ICAMA, outlined the current status of the Chinese pesticide industry from a regulatory standpoint and offered interesting statistics on the Import and Export of pesticide in China.

Legislative Basis

Currently, Chinese regulatory enforcement for import/export control of pesticide relies on Three Laws, Three Regulations, Two International Treaties and One Measure.
  • Customs Law of the People’s Republic of China (last updated on July 8, 2002);
  • Foreign Trade Law of the People’s Republic of China (first promulgated on May 12, 1994, last updated on April 6, 2004);
  • Law of the People’s Republic of China on Import and Export Commodity Inspection (first promulgated on April 28 2002, revised in 2013)
  • Regulation of the People’s Republic of China on the Administration of the Import and Export of Goods (implemented on January 1, 2002)
  • Regulations for the Implementation of the Law of the People’s Republic of China on Import and Export Commodity Inspection;
  • Regulation on Pesticide Administration (importation and/or exportation of pesticide within the territory of China should obtain the pesticide registration in China)

International Treaties:

  • Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticide in International Trade (approved by China NPC in 2004, went into force in 2005);
  • Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (approved by China NPC in 2004, went into force in 2005);
  • The Joint Announcement 1452 issued by the Ministry of Agricultural and the General Administration of Customs stipulated that clearance notification for the Import/Export of Pesticide (herein after as “Clearance Notification”) from the ICAMA is required, prior to the customs formalities.

Ministry and duties Duties

Ministry /AdministrationDuties
General Administration of Customs(GAC)Supervision on the import/export of goods and commodities;
Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM)Qualification management on importers and exporters;
(All companies engaged in international trading business in China are obligated to gain the importing/exporting qualification by registering or record-keeping with the MOFCOM and the pesticide companies involved in international trading business should apply to ICAMA for recording-filling of their trading business.)
General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ)Inspection and supervision on the goods and commodities which are included in the “Catalogue of Entry-Exit Commodities”;
Casual inspection on the goods and commodities which are not included in the “Catalogue of Entry-Exit Commodities”;
Ministry of Agricultural/ICAMAGranting pesticide registration;
Issue the Clearance Notification;

Clearance Notification and Pesticide Inventory

The enforcement of import/export management of pesticide is primarily managed by the ICAMA and Customs. All importers and exporters should obtain a custom notification from ICAMA, which contains the name, volume, HS code, CAS No., toxicity, manufacturer, exporter/importer, exporting/importing country, use of the pesticide. Customs are responsible for field inspections, checking the information on the Custom Notification on a “one Notification for one custom declaration” basis. Thus, the identity and authenticity of the pesticide is ensured as ICAMA can verify the registration status before each release of the pesticide.

Generally, pesticides under import/export management are included in the Pesticide Inventory under Import/Export Management, which is updated at the end of each year. The latest version was issued under the Announcement 1880 of the MoA and GAC. This inventory contained 1157 active ingredients, which includes all the active ingredients registered in China and 98% of the active ingredients registered in other countries. The update added 5 novel pesticides and 1 category of biopesticide into the inventory and adjusted the HS code for paraquat and glyphosate due to tax rebate considerations.

It is worth noting that if the pesticide was listed in Annex 3 of the Rotterdam Convention, the importers/exporters should file an application to the MoA, thereafter the Ministry will grant the approval with the consent of the importing county. Meanwhile, ICAMA also acknowledge that several of the chemicals included in the Inventory are imported /exported for other uses such as disinfectant, preservative and antifouling. In this instance they can be exempted from pesticide registration by obtaining the Certificate of Non-Pesticide Use from the ICAMA.

When exporting agrochemicals to overseas market, the relevant authority from the importing countries usually requires a certificate issued by ICAMA (ICAMA Certificate), which declares the registration status, range of applications of the pesticide. Sometimes, pesticides with an ICAMA Certificate can enjoy unexpected advantages over other products, this certificate can serve as a cargo-clearance during customs procedures in the importing countries. Pakistan gives preferential treatment to product with ICAMA Certificate during pesticide registration. Thailand, Lebanon and Indonesia required additional inclusion of information into the certification, such as registration, production and application of the products.

The certificate issued has had various anti-counterfeit measures included into its design and technology. Mr. Zhang admitted that these documents are usually be forged by illicit factories as ICAMA has frequently had the authenticity of these documents called into question by authorities from other countries.

Import/Export Overview

The import/export of pesticide in China enjoyed  double-digital growth in 2012. The export volume amounted to some 1.599 million tons, a 13.53% increase from 2011 (1.408 million tons). Nearly 65% of all exports are technical materials and 80% of all imports are formulated products.

YearImport/ExportProduct TypeVolume
(000 tons)
Change (%)Percentage of total trade (%)Value
( million USD)
Change (%)Percentage of total trade (%)
2011exporttechnical material654.00/46.423,919.11/63.22
2011exportFormulated product754.81/53.582,279.71/36.78
2011importtechnical material6.89/15.69111.30/21.36
2011importFormulated product37.03/84.31409.77/78.64
2012exporttechnical material742.6213.5546.435,120.8230.6665.12
2012exportFormulated product856.8213.5253.572,742.4420.3034.88
2012importtechnical material6.36-7.6711.89105.79-4.9518.76
2012importFormulated product47.1227.278.11458.1811.8181.24

Herbicides were by far the most exported pesticide. 57% of the export value is attributable to this category followed by insecticides, fungicides, PGRs and rodenticides. 

The top 5 importers of Chinese pesticides are the United State at 1,126.61 million USD, Brazil at 699.1 USD, Argentina at 528.04 USD, Australia at 387.32 USD and Thailand at 320.61 USD.

Volume and Value of the Major Destination Countries in 2012
CountryVolume (000 tons)Value (million USD)CountryVolume (000 tons)Value (million USD)CountryVolume (000 tons)Value (million USD)
United State157.3161,126.61Vietnam78.434269.41Columbia25.143135.04
Australia85.705387.32South Africa28.869149.95Japan32.342129.5

The exports of the technical materials to South America and North America showed robust growth in 2012, seeing a 54.6% and 50.1% increase respectively. Around 1.41 billion USD and 227,000 million tons of technical materials were exported to South America at 1,41 billion USD, and North America at 1.05 billion USD and 138,000 tons.

Volume and Value of the Technical Material to the Destination Regions in 2012
RegionVolume (000 tons)Change(% YoY)Percentage of the Exported Technical Material (%)Value (million USD)Change(% YoY)Percentage of the Exported Technical Material (%)
South America227.42429.0030.621,409.3850.0627.52
North America137.65646.7718.541,046.8554.6020.44

Asia, South America and Africa are the top 3 importers of Chinese formulated products. Exports to these three regions amounted to 78.1% of the total exports of formulated products. The increase in exportation to these regions is mainly due to the developing countries in these regions are incapable of processing or producing these formulated products. Chinese Formulated products imported by some African countries accounted for 80% of their total agrochemical imports from China.

Volume and Value of the Formulated Products to the Destination Regions in 2012
RegionVolume (000 tons)Change(% YoY)Percentage of the Exported Formulated Products (%)Value (million USD)Change(% YoY)Percentage of the Exported Formulated Products (%)
South America158.35822.8618.48637.433.3523.24
North America19.05341.343.06104.5349.673.81

Glyphosate is undeniably the most exported active ingredient. Some 389,685 tons or 1,427.27 million USD worth of the herbicide was exported in 2012, followed by imidacloprid, at 359.64 USD or 23,943 tons. 10 other active ingredients reached over 100 million USD in exports including paraquat, glyphosate isopropylamine, atrazine, chlorpyrifos, 2,4-D, acephate, methomyl, carbendazim, carbofuran and lambda-cyhalothrin.

The 12 active ingredients listed below account for 59.2% of total export volume and 44% of the total value of all exports.

Volume and value of the top 12 exported active ingredients
No.Active ingredientVolume (000 tons)Value (million USD)Product Category
4glyphosate isopropylamine157.084302.17herbicide

More information about ICAMA Registration Certificate is available at our CPAD tool(China Pesticide Approval Directive), click the link below to enter the database:

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