Customs Policy Update – May 2017
PRC Customs Further Issued 12 Working Priorities to Provide Full-range Services for the Belt and Road Construction
General Administration of Customs (“GAC”) established 16 and 14 working priorities respectively in 2015 and 2016 to provide full-range services for the Belt and Road construction. On 11 May 2017, GAC further announced 12 working priorities (“working priorities”) to be implemented in 2017, which cover various areas including opening of ports, supervision, construction of Free Trade Zone and law enforcement cooperation. The content of the working priorities will be focused on reform of the key customs operations, innovation of the supervision model and establishment of cooperation system, with the aim of becoming more adaptable to the increasing exchanges of trading, investment and personnel with other countries along the Silk Road and promoting trading and facility connection.
China and Georgia Officially Signed the Free Trade Agreement
China - Georgia Free Trade Agreement (“the Agreement”) was officially signed on 13 May 2017. The Agreement contains 17 chapters including trade in goods, trade in services, rules of origin, customs procedures and trade facilitation, sanitary and phytosanitary measures, technical barriers to trade, trade remedies, intellectual property and cooperation areas. In terms of openness, Georgia agrees to eliminate tariffs on 96.5% of goods imported from China which accounts for 99.6% of the total import from China to Georgia once the Agreement becomes effective. For the goods imported from Georgia to China, tariffs on 93.9% of these goods will be eliminated, which accounts for 93.8% of total import from Georgia. 90.9% of the goods mentioned above (accounting for 42.7% of the total import) will be duty-free with immediate effect, while the tariff for the remaining 3% of the goods (accounting for 51.1% of the total import) will be eliminated in phases within five years after the Agreement becomes effective. Also, China and Georgia promise to provide a high openness level for trade in services in the Agreement. Georgia makes commitments in China’s key areas of concern such as finance, transportation, movement of natural persons and Chinese medical services, while China makes commitments in the areas focused on by Georgia, including tourism, maritime transportation and laws. Additionally, the Agreement further improves the trading rules, prescribing that both parties are obligated not to adopt alternative price formulated by the third parties in anti-dumping investigations. Meanwhile, the key fields for further cooperation in the future have been clarified in the Agreement.
The signing of the Agreement means that the economic and trade relationship between China and Georgia embarks on a new journey, and will comprehensively enhance the level of practical cooperation between the two countries. The Agreement is expected to come into effect at the end of 2017 or in early 2018.
GAC Issued the Announcement for the Service Plan of Customs Pre-declaration Portal and Interface for Data Exchange
In order to carry through Announcement No. 16  of the General Administration of Customs—Announcement on Opening the Quick Pass Client Software and Business Data Exchange Interfaces, regulate the management of the customs pre-declaration portal and improve the customs service ability, GAC issued Service Plan of Customs Pre-declaration Portal and Interface for Data Exchange. Following the plan, enterprises can upload the declaration information via the customs pre-declaration portal (i.e. consigners/ consignees and customs brokers) or data interchange interface (i.e. enterprises with importation and exportation activities).
Ministry of Commerce (“MOFCOM”) Issued the Announcement (MOFCOM  No.26) on the Safeguard Measures for Imported Sugar
The safeguard measures for imported sugar (under HS codes of 17011200, 17011300, 17011400, 17019100, 17019910, 17019920 and 17019990) have been implemented since 22 May 2017. The measures impose safeguard tariff on the imported sugar out of quota. The implementation duration of the abovementioned measures is three years from 22 May 2017 to 21 May 2020. The tariff rate will be decreased step by step (i.e. 45% from 22 May 2017 to 21 May 2018, 40% from 22 May 2018 to 21 May 2019, and 35% from 22 May 2019 to 21 May 2020). However, it is notable that for goods which are originated from developing counties / regions listed by MOFCOM (e.g. Panama and Ukraine), the safeguard measure will not be applicable as long as the proportion of the import of sugar from the certain listed developing country / region does not exceed 3% and the total import of these listed developing countries / regions do not exceed 9% of the total volume of sugar imported into China. The importers should provide Certificates of Origin issued by those countries / regions which the safeguard measures are not applicable to.
Local Customs Regulation Update
Ningbo Customs Issued Notice of the Adjustment on the Customs Declaration Procedures of Solid Waste
With the aim of unifying the customs law enforcement nationwide and facilitating the reform of national integrated customs declaration, the implementation scope of the adjustment of the customs declaration procedures for solid waste has been expanded from the prior pilot scope to the whole customs area since 26 May 2017. Consigners should obtain Customs Clearance Form on Entry of Goods issued by China Entry-Exit Inspection and Quarantine Bureau (“CIQ”) for customs import declaration of the solid waste, and such declaration forms should be submitted in the form of paperless filing, unless under special circumstances.
Chongqing Customs Issued the Announcement on Matters Related to Voluntary Disclosure for Import and Export Companies and Units
In accordance with the PRC Customs Inspection Regulations (i.e. State Council Circular No. 670), Implementation Measures of the PRC Customs Audit Regulations (i.e. GAC Circular No. 230) and other related regulations, Chongqing Customs released an announcement on 8 May 2017 to regulate the issues in relation to the voluntary disclosure for import and export companies, including the scope of the voluntary disclosure and the template of voluntary disclosure report.
Qingdao Customs Issued an Announcement to abolish the Straight-through Port Supervision Mode
Based on the logistics condition of imported and exported goods of Qingdao Customs’ jurisdiction, the abolishment regarding the straight-through port mode came into force from 16 May 2017. Companies adopting such model previously can choose either the integrated customs declaration or customs transmit supervision model for customs declaration and clearance procedures.