The 5th Amendment to the Customs Law of the People’s Republic of China (PRC)
Following the 30th meeting of the Standing Committee of the 12th National People's Congress on 4 November 2017, the Customs Law of the PRC (herein referred to as “the Customs Law”) had been amended for its fifth time by further cancelling certain administrative permissions and approval processes and promoting the reform of simplified administration and power delegation.
In August 2016, the Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) and the General Administration of Customs (GAC) jointly issued the Announcement  No.45 (herein referred to as “the Announcement No.45”) to formally cancel the approval of processing trade business. Subsequently, the revised Customs Law deleted the relevant description of ‘approval documents” and exempted the reason to apply for domestic sale of bonded processing materials or finished products.
GAC Announcement regarding Promoting the Paperless Application and Cancelling the Filing Procedure of Import Tax Reduction (Announcement  No.58)
To push forward the reform of standardising the protocol and improving the efficiency of nationwide customs clearance, GAC decided to promote the paperless application and cancelling the filing procedure of import tax reduction in China since 15 December 2017. Unless specifically regulated by GAC, the applicant or its agent for income tax reduction can submit an application form of import tax reduction and the corresponding information of electronic data through the QP preloaded customer portal to GAC, instead of making submission in paper form. In addition, during the first time of online application, the applicant (or its agent) can also submit the relevant information, such as the qualification of an entity, the qualification of a project and the quota (amount) of duty exemption, without making a separate filing with GAC in advance.
GAC Announcement on Publishing the Standard of Origin and Relevant Matters of New Zero Tariff Commodities in Hong Kong and Macau since 1 January 2018 (Announcement  No.59)
Based on the Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement between Mainland China and Hong Kong (Hong Kong CEPA), the Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement between Mainland China and Macao (Macao CEPA) and the relevant supplementary agreements, GAC formulated the Standard Table of Origin of New Zero Tariff Commodities under Hong Kong CEPA since 1 January 2018 and the Standard Table of Origin of New Zero Tariff Commodities under Macao CEPA since 1 January 2018, along with the following announcements in relation to the modifications on the standard of origin of certain Hong Kong commodities that enjoy the preferential treatment of commodity trade:
GAC Announcement on Abolishing the Formality Matters after the End of Transition Period in relation to Bank Guarantee Mechanism in Processing Trade Business (Announcement  No.62)
On 14 December 2017, to implement the instruction from the State Council regarding the abolishment of bank guarantee mechanism in processing trade business (herein referred to as “the deposit account”), GAC and MOFCOM announced on the formality matters after the end of transaction period as follows, which will come into force since 2 February 2018:
GAC Announcement on Implementing China-Georgia Free Trade Agreement (Announcement  No.64)
China-Georgia Free Trade Agreement (herein referred to as “China–Georgia FTA” or “the FTA”) will come into force on 1 January 2018. The FTA includes the following articles:
GAC Announcement on 2018 Tariff Adjustment Plan (Announcement  No.65)
Upon the approval of the State Council, the 2018 Tariff Adjustment Plan (Shui Wei Hui  No.27) will take effect on 1 January 2018. The Plan makes adjustment against import tariff rates, export tariff rates and tax items.
GAC Announcement on Revised Standards of Filling in Customs Declaration Forms for Imports and Exports (Announcement  No.69)
On 27 December 2017, GAC issued the Standards of Filling in Customs Declaration Forms (Announcement  No.69) to amend the previous version. The amendment will take effect from 1 January 2018 and mainly modifies the 35th item “Goods name and specification” and adds two compulsory items - “Brand type” and “Export benefit circumstance”. It shall be noted that the “Brand” is an essential declaration element to assess customs value, and it will be reviewed for the purpose of intellectual property protection and customs valuation. However, the abovementioned “Brand type” is another item which is different from the “Brand”.
MOFCOM, GAC and AQSIQ jointly announced the Catalogue of Goods Subject to Import and Export Licenses for 2018 (Announcement  No.89)
MOFCOM, GAC and AQSIQ jointly announced the Catalogue of Goods Subject to Import and Export Licenses for 2018 effective from 1 January 2018. The Catalogue of Goods Subject to Import and Export Licenses for 2017 announced on 30 December 2016 shall be simultaneously abolished.
GAC Decree on Decision of Amending the Administrative Measures of the PRC on Temporary Imports and Exports (Decree  No.233)
On 20 November 2017, the Administrative Measures of the PRC on Temporary Imports and Exports has been approved at the executive meeting of the GAC, effective from 1 February 2018. The Administrative Measures of the PRC on Temporary Imports and Exports issued on 1 March 2007 (Decree No.157) and the Decision of GAC on Amending the Administrative Measures of the PRC on Temporary Imports and Exports issued on 25 December 2013 (Decree No.212) shall be simultaneously abolished.
GAC Decree on the Decision of Abolition and Revision of Certain Rules (Decree  No.235)
On 20 November 2017, the Decision of GAC on Abolition and Revision of Certain Rules has been approved at the executive meeting of GAC, effective from 1 February 2018. GAC decides to revise 23 rules, including the Measures of PRC Customs for Supervision and Control of Luggage and Articles Carried by Inbound and Outbound Passengers.
GAC Decree on the Provisional Measures on Administration of PRC Customs Pre-Ruling (Decree  No.236)
On 12 December 2017, the Provisional Measures on Administration of PRC Customs Pre-Ruling has been approved at the executive meeting of GAC, effective from 1 February 2018. According to the Provisional Measures, the Customs could conduct pre-rulings on the customs matters related to actual import and export activities at the time of application prior to the actual import and export of goods.
China and Maldives Officially Signed the Free Trade Agreement
On 7 December 2017, the two countries signed the China-Maldives Free Trade Agreement (herein referred to as “China–Maldives FTA”). China - Maldives FTA is the 16th FTA that China has ever signed, and it is Maldives's first bilateral FTA with a foreign country. It covers trade of goods, trade of services, investments and economic and technical cooperation. In term of trade of goods, the agreed zero-tariff products and the import amount of both countries account for almost 96%. Most of China's industrial products and agricultural products, such as flowers, plants and vegetables, exported to Maldives will benefit from this FTA. Maldives' most superior export products, such as aquatic products, will also enjoy zero tariff rate. In term of trade of services, both countries will further open their service departments based on their WTO commitment. In term of investment, they have promised to provide investors and their investment with national and the MFN treatment to encourage mutual investment and provide the benefit of convenience and effective protection. At the same time, they reached broad consensus in rules of origin, customs procedures and trade facilitation, trade remedy, technical trade barriers as well as sanitation and phytosanitary measures.
After signing the FTA, the two countries will follow the related domestic procedures. The FTA will come into force and its preferential policies will benefit the enterprises and people of the two countries as soon as possible.
Xiamen Customs issued the announcement to launch pilot bonded warehousing program regarding parallel import of automobiles in areas under special customs supervision
On 22 December 2017, Xiamen Customs issued the Announcement to launch pilot bonded warehousing business regarding parallel import of automobiles in areas under special customs supervision within the pilot free trade zone of Fujian (herein referred to as “special customs supervision areas”). For the parallel imported automobiles, enterprises shall make import declaration to the Customs or handle re-exportation formalities within the prescribed bonded warehousing period – i.e. three months without extension. The Customs will manage via logbook for the parallel imported automobiles based on the vehicle identification code. Enterprises should apply for registration to in-charge Customs with the qualification result issued by the Xiamen Administrative Committee of Fujian Free Trade Zone. For the customs declaration, the enterprises should file the Entry Registration with the Customs according to the Standards for Filing in Customs Declaration Forms, and remark “Parallel imported automobiles” in the Form with written guarantee. Import declaration should be conducted by the enterprises within three months from the entry clearance date of the pilot imported automobiles, and special certificate for parallel imported automobiles would be required. Transfer between different special customs supervision areas or transfer between different warehousing enterprises within the same special customs supervision area should be approved by both inbound and outbound customs authorities of the parallel imported autos. The bonded warehousing period should be calculated on a continuous basis.
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