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Shanghai Takes the Lead in Integrated Customs Clearance Reform from June

Shanghai Customs has kicked off a pilot programme of nationwide customs clearance reform since 1 June 2016, paving the way for the whole country to implement an integrated customs clearance management in 2020.

General Administration of Customs (GAC)’s Director of Political and Legislative Affairs Chen Xudong said that the national customs clearance integration is made up of “two centres and three systems”. The so-called two centres refer to the national customs risk prevention and control centre and the national customs tax collection centre. A unified operation in risk control and taxation allows an enterprise to enjoy the convenience of uniform treatment in customs clearance under a unified customs policy and regulatory requirements across different customs areas. In other words, under the concept of two centres, companies no longer deal with a specific customs office, but the country’s customs as a whole.

The so-called three systems refer to: first, single declaration, dealt with in stages, which is mainly to reform the existing declaration system. After receiving basic information in the preliminary declaration of transport vehicles, such as vessels, aircraft or motor cars, Customs will order release in advance following access risk analysis, without the need to wait until completion of all items declaration. Following the goods release, enterprise will then complete the declaration and Customs collect taxes. This can greatly reduce the time for keeping goods in the ports, terminals and depots, greatly improving the efficiency of customs clearance.

Second, the reform of the current system of tax collection. Previously, price appraisal, classification and levying of taxes are required for each declaration form for corporate tax declaration. The current reform in collection methods mainly relies on self-declaration, and voluntary tax payment. The examination of documents and inspection of tax payments will be conducted by Customs in batches in its supervision of tax collection by the government.

Third, the change of the previous regulatory approach of having customs areas as  customs blocks, with each of the 42 Customs areas as self-contained system to discharge the entire clearance process.

The reform is to establish a number of functional customs offices around the country according to their features. Customs reform will further speed up cargo clearance, further simplify administrative procedures and further reduce costs. At the same time, law enforcement of Customs will also be more uniform.

Before implementing nationwide, GAC has launched reforms of regional customs clearance integration since 2014 in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hubei region, Yangtze River Economic Belt, Silk Road economic belt (the section within Guangdong province), and the northeastern region, covering all of the 42 customs areas in the country. Integrated regional linkage has also been launched in five regions.

Content provided by Picture: HKTDC Research
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