China’s clampdown on online retailers affects dairy imports

Published 19 April 16

Efforts to crack down on China’s cross-border online selling platforms has led to confusion in the trade of dairy products. On 8 April, China placed an 11.9% tax on products sold through online channels destined for China. However, authorities’ sparked further confusion by placing restrictions on products that previously were allowed to enter China. Subsequently, this led to some products in no man’s land, with reportedly £10.9m worth of liquid milk left without an outlet last week.

UHT and some milk powder products are now permitted to be sold through online cross-border channels, having previously been halted when the clampdown was first announced almost two weeks ago. Infant formula producers have a year to register their brands, otherwise these products will not be allowed to enter China. With roughly a third of infant formula sales in China currently made through online channels, the tax increases on this trade will align imported infant formula prices with those for similar products sold directly in China.