China and New Zealand have signed the New Zealand-China Free Trade Agreement, which commits China to eliminating tariffs on 96% of New Zealand exports. However, even though the agreement requires the two countries to eliminate tariffs, quantity-based controls for certain products will remain in respect of the selective enjoyment of the preferential 0% duty rate.
Customs has confirmed that supervision will apply to equipment provided free of charge and imported from overseas outsourcers to international service outsourcing businesses (with the exception of merchandise that is ineligible for duty-free treatment). The announcement applies to certain technologically advanced service enterprises in Shanghai, Shenzhen, Nanjing, Harbin and other designated locations.
The Customs Tariff Commission's 2010 Tariff Implementation Policy is now in effect. Among other things, most favoured nation customs duty rates have been lowered on six tariff lines, while cotton is one of the eight types of goods for which import tariff rate quotas have been imposed.
The State Encryption Management Bureau and the General Administration of Customs have published the Catalogue for the Administration of Imports of Encryption Products and Equipment Containing Encryption Technology. Among other things, the accompanying notice includes exceptions to the new import licence requirements.
The Provisional Measures for Tax Conservation and Enforcement set out the actions that the authorities may take when an importer or exporter has clearly transferred or concealed goods on which duty is payable. In certain circumstances, a taxpayer's goods or other property may be sold and funds may be deducted from its bank account.
Trial measures for renminbi settlement in cross-border trade transactions, initially introduced in five cities, grant value-added tax (VAT) refunds or exemption to exporters using renminbi to settle. The authorities have also increased export VAT refund rates for various products under Chapters 1 to 98 of China's tariff schedule, including processed agricultural or aquatic products, drugs and mechanical and electronic products.
An announcement by the General Administration of Customs empowers Customs to request consignees and consignors of imports or exports (or their representatives) to complete supplementary customs declaration forms in relation to the price, classification or origin of their goods.
The General Administration of Customs has begun the selective implementation of a reform of the export clearance process. The reform has been implemented on a trial basis in 15 locations nationwide and applies to sea and air export shipments. It promises a quicker alternative to the time-consuming conventional export clearance model.
China and Hong Kong recently reached an agreement to liberalize further trade between the two regions under the second phase of the mainland and Hong Kong Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (CEPA II). CEPA II offers additional benefits to Hong Kong manufacturers and services suppliers in terms of better market access into China.
The Measures for the Administration of Foreign Investment in the Commercial Sector herald the long-awaited and much-anticipated liberalization of China’s distribution and retail sectors. They present fresh opportunities for multinationals and foreign investors to establish effective distribution networks in China for their products.
Under the Mainland/Hong Kong Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (CEPA), China will eliminate tariffs on 273 categories of goods of Hong Kong origin, and will consult with Hong Kong on the progressive elimination of tariffs on other goods. In order to qualify for the concessions, the exported goods to China must be accompanied with a CEPA certificate of origin.
The Mainland/Hong Kong Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (CEPA) is China’s first free trade agreement since its accession to the World Trade Organization. It allows goods and services suppliers of Hong Kong origin preferential access into China from January 1 2004. CEPA may also benefit non-Hong Kong companies if they qualify under CEPA rules.
The Ministry of Commerce was recently established through the merger of the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Cooperation and the State Economic and Trade Commission. The merger is intended to promote the formation of a modern socialist market, and to integrate the regulation of domestic and foreign trade in China.