Customs Policy Update - May 2016
The State Council Issued Several Opinions on Promoting Stabilised and Positive Development of Foreign Trade
Faced with complicated and severe foreign trade situation, the State Council issued Several Opinions on Promoting Stabilised and Positive Development of Foreign Trade (Guo Fa  No. 27) on 5 May 2016 and proposed 14 pieces of opinions to promote the stabilisation and upswing of foreign trade. The Opinions propose to give full play to the role of export credit insurance, strive to support financing of foreign trade enterprises, further improve trade facilitation level, adjust and improve export tax rebate policy, reduce/exempt and regulate certain enterprise-related charges, further improve processing trade policies, support the development of border trade, implement proactive import policy, increase the effort to support new business types of foreign trade, accelerate the development of international marketing service system, speed up the development of self-owned brands of foreign trade, give play to the promotion role of two-way investment to trade, strengthen protection of intellectual property rights in foreign trade and strengthen organisation and implementation.
The Ministry of Commerce Released the Report on Chinese Foreign Trade (Spring 2016)
The Ministry of Commerce released the Report on Chinese Foreign Trade (Spring 2016) on 10 May 2016 to review China’s foreign trade situation from 2015 up until the first quarter of 2016. The Report points out that although China’s foreign trade is facing great downward pressure, its long-time optimistic trend is still unchanged. Current challenges faced by China mainly come from weak external demands in general, uncompleted transition of competitive advantages of foreign trade and the prominent impact of trade disputes. China’s government will actively implement the policies that support foreign trade development, consolidate and promote traditional advantages, cultivate new competitive advantages of foreign trade and develop new driving forces.
China Customs Provided that Unified Social Credit Codes Can Be Used as Customs Registration Numbers for Declaration Formalities for Imports and Exports
The General Administration of Customs published and implemented the Announcement on Matters concerning the Implementation of the Unified Social Credit Code System for Legal Persons and Other Organisations (GAC Announcement  No. 32) on 11 May 2016. The Announcement provides that enterprises which have obtained unified social credit codes may, upon registration as a Customs declaration organisation with the Customs, use their unified social credit codes to be their Customs registration numbers for completion of declaration formalities with the Customs for Customs declaration forms for imports and exports. Enterprises which have not yet to obtain their unified social credit codes shall continue to use their Customs registration numbers to complete declaration formalities for imports and exports.
Shanghai will initiate Great Changes in China Customs Clearance Procedures
The General Administration of Customs expressed in the International Federation of Customs Brokers Associations (IFCBA) on 18 May 2016 that China is expected to complete the Overall Plan of In-depth Reform of Customs in 2020 and Shanghai will take the lead to start the pilot program of national customs clearance integration reform in June 2016. The in-depth reform is designated to enhance efficiency of customs clearance for goods and strengthen trade security, including realising national integrated customs clearance management based on the regional customs clearance reform. The national customs clearance integration consists of two centres (namely risk prevention and control centre and tax collection and administration centre) and three systems, namely innovative verification for customs clearance, a management model for tax collection and administration and an innovative, cooperative regulatory system. According to the pilot program of the national customs clearance integration reform, enterprises with high credit rating can be released before conducting inspection such as classification, price-verification and place of origin verification; port customs are responsible for risk prevention and control like customs clearance supervision while local customs are responsible for tax collection and administration; and enterprises no longer pay taxes based on the amount determined by Customs but calculate and pay taxes on their own pursuant to prescriptive rules.
China Customs Released New Regulatory Policy for Cross-border E-commerce during the Transition Period
The General Administration of Customs issued the Notice of The General Administration of Customs on Issues concerning the Implementation of New Regulatory Policy for Cross-border E-commerce Retail Imports (Shu Ban Fa  No. 29) to cope with the operating difficulties faced by relevant enterprises after the implementation of new cross-border e-commerce policy on 8 April 2016. According to the Notice, the customs clearance forms will not be verified for online purchased boned goods entering the frontline zone in 10 ten pilot cities like Shanghai, Hangzhou and Ningbo; and the initial import licencing approval, registration or filing requirements related to online purchased boned goods and direct purchased goods including cosmetics, infant formula milk power, medical devices, special food (including healthcare food, formula food for special medical purpose) in the remarks relating to the List of Retail Imports in Cross-Border E-commerce will be suspended. However, the relevant provisions on tax rate adjustment and the positive list remain unchanged. The Notice specifies that the interim measures will last until 11 May 2017 (included).
China Mainland and Hong Kong Customs Inked the Management of Place of Origin of Goods Trans-shipped via HK under the Free Trade Agreement
On 24 May 2016, Director of the General Administration of Customs and Tang Yun Kwong, Commissioner of Customs of HKSAR inked the arrangement for cooperation in relation to the Management of Place of Origin of Goods Trans-shipped via HK under the Free Trade Agreement. The arrangement for cooperation is intended to solidify the status of HKSAR as the international trade and shipping hub and encourage the industries to choose HK as the preferred place of trans-shipment. In the meanwhile, it will offer further convenience for goods trans-shipped into China via HK, which may be entitled to the preferential customs duties of China mainland. Currently, the arrangement for cooperation covers not only 10 ASEAN countries, but also Australia, Bengal, Chile, Costa Rica, Iceland, India, South Korea, New Zealand, Pakistan, Peru, Sri Lanka, Switzerland and Taiwan.
China Customs Adjusted Documents Required for Filling regarding Small Vessels Shipping Goods from and to Hong Kong and Macao
On 27 May 2016, the General Administration of Customs issued the Announcement on Matters concerning the Adjustment of Documents Required for Filling regarding Small Vessels Shipping Goods from and to Hong Kong and Macao (GAC Announcement  No. 34). According to the Announcement, as to record keeping of small vessels shipping goods from and to Hong Kong and Macao, applicants no longer need to submit the copy of the ship inspection certificate issued by China Classification Society or the administrative department of maritime.
China Customs Announced Administrative Rulings on Commodity Classification for 2016 (III)
The General Administration of Customs published the Announcement on Issuing the Administrative Rulings on Commodity Classification for 2016 (III) (GAC Announcement  No. 31) on 6 May 2016 to include ranolazine (no. C0011) in tariff no. 2933.5990, with effect from 15 May.
China Customs Announced Administrative Rulings on Commodity Classification for 2016 (IV)
On 26 May 2016, the General Administration of Customs issued the Announcement on Issuing the Administrative Rulings on Commodity Classification for 2016 (IV) (GAC Announcement  No. 33) to include synthetic absorbable sutures with needles (no. C0012) in tariff no. 9018.3220, iPod nano 7 (no. C0013) in tariff no. 8527.1300, and feeders (no. C0014) in tariff no. 8428.9090, with effect from 1 June.
Updates on Local Customs Regulations
Shanghai Customs Implemented Identify Authentication for Customs Declarers
Shanghai Customs issued the Announcement on Implementing Identify Authentication for Customs Declarers (Shanghai Customs Announcement  No. 5) on 23 May 2016. The Announcement provides that a customs declaration entity shall go through the recordation procedure for its declarers with the customs office at its place of registration; and customs declarers who are responsible for accompanying customs officers for inspection, receiving and signing relevant documents shall go through identify authentication. Customs declarers who have registered with the Customs and verified by the field operation department of Customs are able to conduct customs declaration business. Those who violate Customs administrative regulations will be included in the list of customs declarers under key supervision.
Guangzhou Customs Expanded the Reform Scope of “Internet + Easy Customs Clearance”
Guangzhou Customs published the Announcement on Expanding the Reform Scope of “Internet + Easy Customs Clearance” (Guangzhou Customs Announcement  No.4) on 25 May to expand the scope for implementation and qualified enterprises regarding the reform of “internet + self-help customs declaration, “internet + advanced classification and price-verification, “internet + interactive inspection” and “internet + self-help tax payment”, so as to further facilitate and promote customs declaration. Enterprises can conduct relevant business through the electronic information platform for “internet + easy customs clearance” of Guangzhou Customs.