The General Administration of Customs (“GAC”) issued Announcement [2013] No. 58 (“Announcement”) on October 30, 2013, announcing its decision to further reform the customs clearance procedures for importation and exportation, whereby as from November 1, 2013, an AA Category enterprise in China Customs’ AEO (Authorized Economic Operator) program, after filing application and signing an MOU with the customs, may choose to file import/export declarations and have the goods cleared at the local customs office of the place where such enterprise is located rather than where the port of entry or exit is located (“Privileged Model”).

Normally, an importer/exporter is required to file customs declarations and complete clearances at the port where the imports/exports actually arrive or depart (“Regular Model”).Since 2005, the GAC launched a reform on the customs clearance procedures, as result of which, an AA Category enterprise may choose to file declarations at the place where it is located and have goods cleared at the ports (“Simplified Model”). The GAC’s new Announcement further streamlined this model into the Privileged Model. For example, under the Privileged Model, an AA Category enterprise located inland in Taiyuan City, Shanxi Province, may choose to have its imported goods arriving at the Tianjin Port declared and cleared in Taiyuan, and directly picked up later in Tianjin. This new measure would help AA Category enterprises improve supply chain efficiency and reduce logistics related cost.

The Announcement also shed some light on the reform schedule for B Category manufacturing enterprises. If no record shows any violation of customs laws or regulations within the past one year, export-oriented manufacturing enterprises of B Category may as from November 1, 2013, and other manufacturing enterprises of B Category may as from March 1, 2014, apply the Simplified Model for customs clearance purposes.

However, according to the Announcement, the above Privileged Model and Simplified Model do not apply to those goods subject to import/export license control, such as certain machinery and electronic products, gold products, dual use items and so on. Still, under such circumstances, the Regular Model would apply, which means such goods must be declared, examined and cleared at the port of entry/exit.