Our company has a recently SQF certified facility in China, and I've heard some interesting stories about how they do business in that area. It is quite possible the reason the standard isn't being provided is they want you to hire an 'authorized' consultant whom they do provide the standard to, and whom they receive kickbacks from.
Did they give you a list of 'authorized' consultants, or something similar?
I find the "authorized consultant" thing to be very seamly.
We were approached by a couple of companies to get on their "recommended consulting list" which they advertise to potential suppliers but we refused the "marketing fees" of $5,000/yr, $20,000/yr and $50,000/yr - I imagine that over the years in our consulting business that we've lost a couple of hundred thousand dollars for not doing this, but it always hit me as being dirty.
There's a couple of auditing companies that I like, however 2 of the 3 can't do Costco adendums, because they have not been "approved" by Costco to do so - approval means paying a fee to become approved.
This is similar in nature to food companies paying endless fees to supermarket chains for product position, side and end caps, etc.
I remember when I inspected ShopRite food stores in New Jersey (us) a manager I was talking to tell me that their store and the company that ran a group of stores made a lot of money on product positioning and end caps --- sometimes more so than the actual profit from the product. amazing.
corruption and graft.