A wholesale market in Shanghai has been notified by the local port authority that a comprehensive inspection will be conducted for all imported Australian fruits and seafood, as the import suspension on Australian products may take effect soon and be expanded to new export categories.
Huizhan Fruit and Vegetable Market was notified that the port may inspect, test and hold all Australian fruits and seafood. Source in the Chinese import industry said they are dealing with the import suspension on imports of various Australian products (barley and sugar). The restrictions on red wine, logs, coal, lobster, copper ore and beneficiated ore are set to take effect on Friday.
Customs authorities at the port may also conduct laboratory tests on Australian imported food and seafood, like what they have recently done with lobsters imported from Western Australian worth 2 million Australian dollars (US$1.43 million). These lobsters were held at the Shanghai airport for tests of metal content.
On Thursday, many Australian exporters and Chinese importers held their breath and waited for the new restrictions. The Chinese government has not yet issued an official statement on the matter, but the government news outlet Global Times confirmed the "import suspension" in an article on Wednesday evening.
Distributors who deal with major ports in Shanghai and Qingdao said that port officials are preparing to inspect Australian products. However, in other cities such as Guangzhou and Beijing, there is no indication that inspections of Australian products may be strengthened, but overall inspections are being stepped up.