On October 13, 2008 the PRC General Administration of Customs (GAC) promulgated the Administrative Measures on Chemical Examinations, GAC No. 176 (2008), the Measures). The Measures, which will come into effect on December 1, 2008, will replace the Provisions on Chemical Examination and Verification of Goods for Import or Export, GAC No. 46 (1993)) issued on September 20, 1993. The Measures apply to all GAC chemical examinations of import or export goods .

GAC has the authority to conduct chemical examinations of goods to be imported into, and exported out of, China if it cannot verify the nature, components, content, structure, quality, or specifications of the chemicals, and may authorize qualified testing centers to carry out these examinations. Authorized testing centers are required to implement a quality management system in accordance with the General Requirements for the Competence of Testing and Calibration Laboratories.

A chemical examination utilizes two identical samples of the goods: one for immediate examination and one for future examination. According to the Measures, the goods’ consignees, consignors, or their agents are obligated to provide authentic and relevant documents and technical materials, as well as on-site assistance. It is their responsibility to move the goods and open and reseal the packages. GAC, however, maintains the right to collect samples on its own if it deems it necessary or if the consignees, consignors, or their agents refuse to cooperate. Site operators and persons responsible for transportation vehicles are also obligated to provide on-site assistance. At the end of an examination, all samples are sealed on-site for storage.

Once an authorized testing center completes an examination, it formulates its conclusion in accordance with the Regulations of the PRC on Import and Export Duties, and in line with the relevant interpretation notes to the import and export tariff codes, and issues a report within 15 days after it receives the samples, unless special circumstances exist. GAC should publish all relevant information of the report, either on its official website or through other means, the day after the report is issued. Upon request, GAC can provide hard copies of the report to the consignees and consignors. The GAC report has legal precedence over all other reports and examinations conducted on the goods in question.

Sealed samples will be kept for six months after the report is issued unless the goods are not suitable for long-term storage (i.e., if they are dangerous or perishable). The storage period for samples involved in administrative review or litigation, such as smuggling or customs violation cases, will be longer.

Consignees, consignors, or their agents may apply for re-examination within 15 days after the Customs report is issued. The re-examination is conducted by the same testing center, which then issues a report within 15 days after it receives the re-examination application. Each good may only be re-examined once.