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China: Cross-border e-commerce rules, retail imports

China: Cross-border e-commerce rules, retail imports

The State Council announced revisions to the rules concerning the policy for cross-border e-commerce transactions involving imports of retail goods. The new regulations increase the transition limits and add more taxable items.


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Under transitional provisions introduced from May 2016, retail import transactions made through cross-border e-commerce channels are regulated as “personal articles on a temporary basis.” Because of the temporary designation, the rights and responsibilities of the parties involved were not clearly defined, and expectations regarding the policy were uncertain. The new policy clarifies that cross-border e-commerce retail importation will be regulated as “imported articles for personal use.” The transitional period is coming to an end after two and a half years, thereby setting the stage for alignment with the e-commerce law. 

New supporting rules—such as Shang Cai Fa [2018] No. 486, which is known in English as “Notice on work relating to improved regulation of cross-border e-commerce retail importation”—have been issued to adjust the regulations on cross-border e-commerce retail importation. 

The new policy will be effective 1 January 2019. Twenty-two new cities have been included in the scope of the policy. 

With the annual transaction limit raised and more taxable items added into the list, cross-border e-commerce operators can expand their activities, while more choices will be available for consumers.


Read a December 2018 report prepared by the KPMG member firm in China

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