As Announcements [2014] No. 45, 65, 66, 68 and 84 (“Announcements”) issued by the General Administration of Customs (“GAC”) are put into effect eventually, the three important economic hubs in China, Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei Region, Yangtze River Economic Belt and Guangdong Region, have respectively seen the integration of customs clearance procedures in each region. The reform aims to establish regional customs clearance centers, with unified platforms for customs declarations, risk control, documentation review and field operations across the regions. As such, the import and export clearance procedures would be simplified and the logistics time and cost would be reduced.

We map below each regional clearance center as planned in GAC’s Announcements:

Click here to view table.

According to the Announcements, a company registered in one of the three regions, may choose to file import/export declarations either at its registration location or product entry/exit ports within the region. For example, a Tianjin registered company imports goods via the Beijing Capital International Airport. Under the previous clearance procedure, normally, it would have to file import declaration and have the goods examined and cleared at the Beijing Airport Customs. Under the integrated regional clearance model, this company may, after receiving the relevant cargo manifest information, start to declare the entry of goods at a customs office in Tianjin. After passing risk assessment and documentation review, the Tianjin Customs may directly clear the goods and issue the release order to the Beijing Airport Customs. Upon the release instruction, the latter will release the shipment. However, if the risk assessment indicates the necessity of on-site examination, the Tianjin Customs would issue the examination order to the airport customs. If passing the examination, the shipment would be cleared and released by the Beijing Airport Customs eventually.

Another breakthrough of the regional clearance integration reform is that a pre-entry decision on the tariff classification, customs value or origin of the imported goods or a result of determination on the tariff classification or customs value given by one participating customs district office in the region would be automatically recognized and accepted by others throughout that region.  

In addition, the Announcements also lift a geographic restriction on customs broker companies within each region, whereby a company licensed by one participating customs district office in the region may also provide broker services across other participating customs districts in that region.

No doubt that GAC’s regional clearance integration reform would help trade companies optimize logistics resources per commercial needs and reduce logistics costs and clearance time. Given each regional clearance center is on the unified platforms for risk control and documentation review, the customs supervision over the import/export activities would become more streamlined, effective and efficient than ever. For example, the declaration of different HS Codes for the same product at different customs offices would now be easily caught and subject the importation company to significant exposures to regulatory customs violation or even smuggling charge. Therefore, GAC’s new reform calls on the entire trade community in each region to keep up higher standard of compliance and oversight over their own trade activities.