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Special Customs Supervision Areas Look into Selective Tariff Levy

China’s special customs supervision areas will be revamped in their regional distribution and functions after years of development, according to the Deputy Customs Commissioner-General of the General Administration of Customs Sun Yibiao.

Generally known as free trade zones abroad, China’s special customs supervision areas are approved by the State Council and supervised by the Customs to implement preferential policies such as taxation in the Chinese customs territory, and carry out bonded processing, bonded logistics, bonded services and other diversified business. At present, China has 129 special customs supervision zones, 12 are under processing and about 50 with the status of processing pending. Except Qinghai and Tibet, special customs supervision areas can be found in all other provinces, cities and autonomous regions.

The next development of the special customs supervision areas is to integrate and optimise their classification and numbers, Sun told a press conference on 20 Oct.

"Currently, there are six types, namely bonded zones, export processing zones, bonded logistics parks, bonded port areas, comprehensive bonded areas and cross-border industrial parks. In the future, they will be collectively referred to as comprehensive bonded areas," Sun said, adding that integration of the different types is under way.

Meanwhile, the customs special supervision areas will be distributed to effectively align with national strategy. In recent years, the distribution of the areas has been improved to go in line with China’s development strategies such as the Belt and Road Initiative, the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region and the Yangtze River economic belt.

Customs data show that 116 special customs supervision areas are located in the three major strategic provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities, accounting for 89.9% of the total. The new areas are mostly concentrated in the central/western and the northeast regions. Seven areas have been opened in the central/western and the northeastern region since 2015, accounting for 63.6% of the total number of newly setup areas.

Sun said that plans are in the pipeline for linking the special customs supervision areas with the Belt and Road initiative. Countries along the Belt and Road have set up many free trade areas similar to China’s special customs supervision areas. Interconnection between customs of these countries and China will provide better measures and systems for clearance facilitation for “going out” enterprises, building up international capacity co-operation and forming good interaction. 

In the worklist for the revamp, optimising the industrial structure and promoting the development of new business formats will be the focus for the development of special customs supervision areas. For example, in expanding the function of the areas, pilots will be launched to actively explore the general taxpayer qualification granted to enterprises in the areas, selective levy of tariffs on domestic sale of goods, and supervision of goods according to the classification status.

Content provided by Picture: HKTDC Research
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