Transport and logistics

Faster processing seen as major benefit of customs clearance reform, PwC survey

Reforms include changes to tariff payment methods and enhanced flexibility on the movement of goods before they are taxed

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 12 October, 2017, 8:40pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 12 October, 2017, 11:12pm

Improvements in clearing times are among the most anticipated benefits from China’s nationwide customs clearance reform, according to a business survey by PwC.

Of 500 companies surveyed by PwC, 42 per cent said they prioritised faster clearance times as a benefit from the streamlined reforms. Operational guidance on customs declaration and tariff classification consistency were also cited as important measures arising from the reforms.

The survey, carried out in the first half of the year, sought opinions from manufacturers and distribution companies.

The Customs Authority initiated the reform on a trial basis in Shanghai in June last year to simplify clearance procedures, before taking it nationwide on July 1, 2017.

The reforms include changes to tariff payment methods and enhanced flexibility on the movement of goods before they are taxed.

Importers can use a self-assessment mechanism to calculate and pay applicable duties, with later follow up by customs.

In addition, restrictive geographic requirements were scrapped so that traders can file declarations at any local customs office.

These steps are aimed to make it easier for business to go through the clearance procedures.

“We anticipate more companies will see increases in efficiency stemming from the ongoing [policy] updates,” said Frank Wu, PwC China customs and trade partner.

Clearance efficiency has already improved since the reform were implemented, according to regional data.

For instance, customs clearance lead times shrank by 30 per cent in Kunming, according to the General Administration of Customs.

Still, potential clearance delays could occur on electronics requiring compulsory safety certification and products subject to anti-dumping or anti-subsidy taxes, PwC said.

China’s exports rose 5.5 per cent on year to US$199 billion in August. Imports were up 13.3 per cent on year to US$157 billion in August for the month, according to latest customs data.