On June 28, 2017, the General Customs issued Announcement [2017] No. 25, introducing the reform on integration of customs clearance (the “Reform”) nationwide from July 1, 2017.

The Reform allows enterprises to decide on the location and port for customs clearance and carry out all necessary procedures wherever they choose. It aims to lower costs, improve access to customs clearance and standardize customs regulations nationwide.

The Reform is based on two centers and three systems. 

Centers:

a) A risk prevention and control center with a branch in Shanghai (in charge of air transport), in Qingdao (in charge of water transport, excluding small vessels), and in Huangpu (in charge of land and small vessel transport).

b) A tax collection and administration center with a branch in Shanghai (in charge of mechanical and electronic merchandise), in Guangzhou (in charge of chemical merchandise), and one for Beijing and Tianjin (in charge of other merchandise).

Systems:

a) The customs clearance management system introduces a multi-step model for processing a single declaration, consisting of two steps once enterprises have made their customs declaration. First, (i) the risk prevention and control center will analyze whether the goods qualify for clearance based on risk assessment on security access, and (ii) the tax collection and administration center will assess the tax risks before clearance. Second, the tax collection and administration center will review the tax declaration documents after the goods have been cleared and the risk targets have been screened.

b) The tax collection and administration system introduces a new self-declaration and payment method allowing enterprises to make self-assessments and declarations,pay for the taxes declared, and print their tax payment certificates. The customs authorities become involved only in special circumstances, which places greater responsibility on enterprises to make accurate calculations.

c) The collaborative supervision system involves a post-release review of declaration through big data processing and inspection of high-risk targets.

The Reform shifts the customs clearance process from an approval model (i.e., customs review before release) to an acceptance model (i.e., customs supervision after release), reducing manual interference and increasing efficiency. However, this new process also increases the burden on enterprises when making customs declarations.

Date of issue: June 28, 2017. Effective date: July 1, 2017