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Premier Li urges inclusive, prudent regulation on cross-border e-commerce

Updated: Nov 23,2018 8:00 PM

China will expand and improve the existing policies on retail imports via cross-border e-commerce, the State Council’s executive meeting chaired by Premier Li Keqiang decided on Nov 21.

“When e-commerce started to develop in China in the past few years, there were some arguments and even opposition, but we still adhered to inclusive and prudent regulation, and firmly promoted the development of new formats and new models,” the Premier said, adding that the same principle must be upheld to promote the two-way development of imports and exports via cross-border e-commerce.

In 2017, China’s retail import value via cross-border e-commerce was 56.6 billion yuan, up 75.5 percent year-on-year, and from January to October 2018, the number was 67.2 billion yuan, an increase of 53.7 percent year-on-year.

In the Government Work Report for four consecutive years, Premier Li proposed promoting the development of new formats such as cross-border e-commerce.

Boosting cross-border e-commerce will contribute to high-level opening-up, while promoting steady growth in foreign trade, driving consumption and creating jobs, the Premier said at the meeting.

The meeting decided that current policies on cross-border e-commerce retail imports will continue in the new year. No requirements in licensing, registration or record-filing for first-time imports will apply to retail imports through cross-border e-commerce platforms. Instead, these goods will receive more relaxed regulation as imports for personal use. Moreover, implementation of the policy will be extended from the 15 cities such as Hangzhou to another 22 cities such as Beijing, which have just established comprehensive cross-border e-commerce pilot zones.

Goods included in the cross-border e-commerce retail imports list have so far enjoyed zero tariffs within a set quota and had their import VAT and consumer tax collected at 70 percent of the statutory taxable amount. Such preferential policies will be extended to another 63 tax categories of high-demand goods. The quota of goods eligible for the preferential policies will be raised from 2,000 yuan to 5,000 yuan per transaction, and from 20,000 yuan to 26,000 yuan per head per year. This quota will be further adjusted as needed based on increases in personal incomes.

The Premier urged that export tax rebate policies should be further improved in line with international practices to further boost exports via cross-border e-commerce.

Cross-border e-commerce businesses, online platforms and payment and logistics service providers must fully discharge their responsibilities required by law, the meeting urged. Product quality, safety inspection and risk prevention and control should be strengthened for fair competition in the marketplace and better protection of consumer rights and interests.

“Our policy is to give cross-border e-commerce enterprises stable expectations and widen opening-up and unlock the potential of consumption, promoting steady growth of foreign trade imports and exports,” the Premier said.