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China Expands Cross-Border E-Commerce Scope and Updates Approved Import List

A new series of regulatory changes are set to boost the overall level of cross border e-commerce retail imports. As of 1 January next year, the single transaction limit will rise from RMB2,000 to RMB5,000, while the annual per person limit will be increased to RMB26,000. The list of goods deemed as being in high demand will also be expanded, with 63 new categories added, including sparkling wine and fitness equipment.

The changes follow the State Council’s decision to adopt an expanded cross-border e-commerce regime. In line with this, the Ministry of Finance, the General Administration of Customs and the State Administration of Taxation issued a circular on 29 November detailing the proposed changes to the existing cross-border e-commerce retail import tax requirements.

Among the primary revisions are the following:

  • The maximum value of any single cross-border e-commerce retail import transaction will be raised from RMB2,000 to RMB5,000, while the annual per person limit will be raised from RMB20,000 to RMB26,000.
  • If the dutiable value of an item exceeds RMB5,000 for a single transaction but is below the annual limit of RMB26,000 and the order contains only one item, it may still be imported via the standard cross-border e-commerce retail channels. The item will then be subject to import tariff, VAT and consumption tax at the standard rate and the transaction value will count towards the annual limit. If the total value of transactions in a given year exceeds the annual limit, this issue will be handled under general trade import terms.
  • Imported goods purchased via e-commerce for consumers’ personal consumption may not be re-sold on the domestic market. In principle, bonded imports purchased online may not be sold outside special customs supervision areas using the BOPS (buy online, pick up in store) facility.
  • With regard to all other matters, the relevant provisions of the Circular of the Ministry of Finance, the General Administration of Customs and the State Administration of Taxation on the Tax Policies on Cross-Border E-Commerce Retail Imports (Cai Guan Shui No. 18 [2016]) will be deemed to still apply.

The departments concerned also issued a List of Cross-Border E-Commerce Retail Imports (2018 version), which superseded all earlier lists.

The new regime and the amended import list will be effective as of 1 January 2019.

For further details, please access the following links:

Circular on the Improvement of Tax Policies on Cross-Border E-Commerce Retail Imports (Cai Guan Shui No. 49 [2018]) (in Chinese)

Announcement No. 157 (2018) on the Adjustment of the List of Cross-Border E-Commerce Retail Imports (in Chinese)

China Extends and Enhances Cross-Border E-Commerce Preferential Policies

Content provided by Picture: HKTDC Research
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