Chinese pet owners consider boycott of US pet food imports amid rising trade tension

By Huang Ge Source:Global Times Published: 2018/8/7 21:53:27

Domestic pet owners less inclined to buy US food

Chinese pet owners are considering giving up pet food imported from the US due to their increased price in the domestic market, saying that US products are not "irreplaceable" and the US targeting Chinese goods makes them "sick."

According to dozens of pet owners the Global Times talked to on Tuesday, many are considering a shift to domestic products or pet food imported from countries like New Zealand, France and Canada, as they are also somewhat affected by the market sentiment triggered by the escalating China-US trade tension.

"The price of a type of US Natural Balance cat food was 380 yuan ($55.4) per 15 pounds, but it rose to 430 yuan recently," said Molly Zhou, a 20-something white-collar worker in Beijing. Zhou buys pet food from Alibaba's cross-border e-commerce platform Tmall.

Zhou noted that "the US instigated a trade war and kept imposing tariffs on Chinese goods, which makes me kind of sick buying American imports."

Another Beijing-based pet owner surnamed Chang told the Global Times that "I used to choose US brand EVO for my cat because the product is cost-effective. But I found a Tmall shop that I often buy pet food from had removed all of their US imported products in May."

Since May, US pet food brands on Tmall including Canidae, Wellness and Natural Balance announced that they will halt selling pet food online due to new rules on imports, according to media reports.

The removal was likely to be caused by a document circulated online that was issued by the Cross-border E-commerce Product Quality Security Control Monitoring Center, requiring cross-border e-commerce firms to conduct comprehensive inspections of US imported pet food, and take down products that do not obtain imported food registration documents, according to a report by

The Global Times found that Canidae, Wellness and Natural Balance on Tmall had resumed sales by Tuesday.

A Wellness customer service representative who declined to be identified told the Global Times on Tuesday that "our store indeed took down US pet food in May, but resumed sales in early June after we received a notice." The representative did not disclose details of the notice.

The center and Tmall did not respond to the Global Times as of press time.

"Imported pet food should not be regulated as a normal product by Chinese authorities. They are luxury products and it is reasonable to levy some consumption duty on imported pet food," Ma Wenfeng, a senior analyst at Beijing Orient Agribusiness Consultancy, told the Global Times on Tuesday.

Formulated animal feed has been added to a list of US goods that will face Chinese tariffs.

Germany, France and the US were the world's three largest exporters of cat and dog food in 2016, with US exports worth $1.3 billion, the report said, citing market research company GfK.

The US pet food sector has been affected by the China-US trade war and more negative effects could emerge, Ma said.

Newspaper headline: Domestic pet owners less inclined to buy US food


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