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Customs to cut clearance lag for goods

Zhong Nan
Updated: May 21,2021 09:19 AM    China Daily

The General Administration of Customs is working on a slew of measures, including shortening the overall port clearance time for imports and exports, to further improve port efficiency under the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership framework, said a senior Customs official.

With the GAC planning ahead and making preparations for the effective implementation of RCEP provisions related to Customs, the administration has organized a comparative study on cross-border trade facilitation under the RCEP framework, and will provide professional support for decision-making to better create a market-oriented, legalized, and internationalized port business environment, said Dang Yingjie, deputy director-general of the National Office of Port Administration at the GAC.

With regard to the implementation of tariff concessions, the official said that the GAC is preparing to promulgate the RCEP Measures for the Administration of the Origin of Imported and Exported Goods and Administrative Measures for the Approved Exporters, sort out the procedures for applying preferential import and export visas under the RCEP framework, and building a supporting information system to ensure conveniences for enterprises to make proper declarations and enjoy the due benefits.

In terms of Customs protection of intellectual property rights, Dang said that the GAC will actively fulfill the obligations stipulated by the RCEP, strengthen cooperation and coordination with other Customs authorities of the RCEP members, jointly improve the level of intellectual property protection in the region, and maintain a favorable business environment.

China's foreign trade with the 14 other RCEP members amounted to 10.2 trillion yuan ($1.59 trillion) last year, accounting for 31.7 percent of the total foreign trade during the same period, data from the GAC showed.

Eager to better facilitate China's foreign trade, the overall clearance time for imports across the country was 37.12 hours in March this year, while for exports it was 1.67 hours. The overall clearance time was reduced by more than 50 percent for both imports and exports compared with 2017, according to Customs statistics.

China's foreign trade extended its growth momentum during the first four months, with the country fully promoting efforts to coordinate the growth of this sector. Its foreign trade expanded 28.5 percent on a yearly basis to 11.62 trillion yuan in the January-April period, up 21.8 percent over the same period in 2019, latest Customs data showed.

Apart from further shortening the overall port clearance time for foreign trade goods, Dang stressed that the government will actively support the innovative development of ports in inland areas, and give backing to the establishment of cargo airports in inland areas with proper conditions or increase the opening of international passenger and cargo routes at existing ports, she said.

With joint efforts of the GAC, multiple ministries and commissions, the regulatory documents that need to be verified in the import and export process at ports have been streamlined from 86 in 2018 to 41, dropping by 52.3 percent to date this year.

Among these 41 types of regulatory documents, with the exception of three types that cannot be processed through internet due to special circumstances, the remaining 38 types of documents can all be applied for and processed online.

A total of 23 types of documents can be processed through the "single window" system in international trade. Companies do not need to submit hard copy supervision certificates to the Customs since automatic comparison and verification are made during Customs clearance session, she said.

These measures will effectively simplify business registration and filing procedures, and offer timely help to companies, especially small and medium-sized ones, to solve their problems in both imports and exports, said Sang Baichuan, a foreign trade professor at the University of International Business and Economics in Beijing.

Aimed at increasing support for foreign trade enterprises in the country and easing their problems, the government last year accelerated the process of granting permission to agricultural products and food imports, shortened the length of time for quarantine examination and approval and allowed applications that meet the requirements to be submitted and approved at the same time.

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