Customs clearance procedures streamlined to spur trade: GAC minister

By Du Haitao from People’s Daily Over 83 percent of China’s customs clearance procedures are currently conducted electronically, Yu Guangzhou, minister of the General Administration of Customs (GAC), said during an online discussion with the People’s Daily during the country’s two sessions.

The GAC will deepen reforms to streamline the customs clearance procedures in the future. Out of the 23 customs policy innovations in the China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone, 14 have been introduced to the whole nation, Yu said.

Yu also noted that regional integration of customs will be promoted nationally starting May 1.

Regional integration of customs has been introduced to the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region, the Yangtze River Economic Belt and South China’s Guangdong Province in the second half of last year. Many companies have benefited from the integration.

Regional integration of customs means that the regions will each adopt a connected customs system, instead of the previous scenario of different places having separate systems. Customs information in the regions will be connected via the Internet. Companies could choose a convenient place to finish the customs procedures.

“A total of 3,528 containers went through the Shanghai port in 2014. The port is much more efficient now and the cost for customs clearance was also greatly reduced,” said Chen Xuyuan, chairman for Shanghai International Port (Group) Co and also a deputy for the National People’s Congress.

Chen Hongliang, a senior executive vice president at Beijing Benz Automotive Co, said that the average customs clearance time for the company’s products has been lowered by two to three days in the fourth quarter of 2014.

China is about to also set up free trade zones in Guangdong Province, Fujian Province and Tianjin Municipality. Yu said that the GAC will actively support the new free trade zones and push forward institutional innovation in customs in the free trade zones.