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Shanghai import expo to boost import to China


Picture from China.org.cn

The first ever China international import expo (CIIE) will be kicking off on Nov. 5th, it is reportedly 1200 exhibitor from 500 countries will be showing up at the event.


Exhibitors with various background from manufacturing and trading will be showcasing their products in the event, presenting product categories in consumer electronics & appliances, apparel, accessories & consumer goods, automobiles, high-end intelligent equipment, food & agricultural products and medical equipment & health care.


To support this unprecedented event, China customs authorities released a series of policy in relaxing import customs clearance.

ATA validity and bonded warehouse storage


ATA validity is reportedly extended from 6 month to 12 month, allowing exhibition goods transferred from exhibition venue to bonded warehouse for further display or sales.

Import tariff exemption


During the expo taking place from Nov. 5 to 10, consumers can enjoy a 30-percent discount on short-listed foreign products from their import value-added tax and consumption tax, the Ministry of Finance said in a statement on its website.

Since July this year, import tariff for a wide range of consumer products such as home appliance, food and personal cares have been adjusted (lower) in order to provide visible incentive to import. Again in November, another round of tariff adjustment (lower) is effective for industrial commodity i.e. machinery and parts, chemicals and steal import from countries with preferential trade agreement.


The intention is quite obvious that after consistent growth of import through cross-border ecommerce (volume and selection), there is greater demand for import under general trade terms.


The event itself is also carrying a message that both industrial and consumer market will be further opened, more international brands and products are welcomed, policy and regulation will be put in place to support.


For a very long time, it is known to all that Import clearance process under general trade has never been easy as there is strict requirement for full compliance to China product standards (also known as GB, Guobiao). It is reportedly to be easier for raw materials and industrial machinery, while it takes a fairy long time to prepare for pre-registration and all necessary documentation for compliance to products like Food (raw and processed), personal care, beverage, clothing etc, the big trunk in individual consumption.


A customer of us once spent one full year for test result, automatic import license etc when importing essential oil from Caribbean


Longer preparation time increase operation, marketing and opportunity cost.


Refer to our previous post about import process for food (keynotes for importing food to China), there is indeed difficulty for new brands or promoter to gain a quick start in exploring opportunities in China customer market.

That said, in general trade mode, for individual consumption product category in particular, there was no such thing as sending small volume to test the water and most of the time, overseas exporter need to work with a local importer, distributor or a supply chain manager ( i.e. Li & Fung), where in most cases, an exclusive contract is sealed between two parties.

Exclusivity means less flexibility for brand owner.


That’s exactly why cross border import paves the way to new products into the market, thanks to relaxing policy on product standard compliance.


In two ways, an overseas brand owner could ship their inventory for direct sales in China through e-commerce platform for a quick start;

Bonded warehouse mode


Customs authorities had released comprehensive “positive list”, as long as the products get listed, they could be


  • Import to Cross-border ecommerce bonded warehouse in China

  • Consolidated at overseas logistics facility linked to Chinese customs authorities

Products can be imported in bulk through these channels and packed locally for final delivery to customer.


Until policy change, products imported in this mode will not be required to comply with China’s product standards and import regulation, meaning be exempted from requirement to be pre-registered with Chinese authorities in general trade terms.


A flat tax of 11.9% is applied to the final online retail price at the time of purchase (calculated as a 30% discount on VAT at 17%).

Postal and courier mode


Similar to bonded warehouse mode on customs clearance facilitation, products can be shipped directly from overseas business merchants or individuals, via postal system or courier channel.


Unlike bonded warehouse mode, products excluded from the “positive” list could still be import via postal and courier system, which literally means any product not falling into the forbidden commodity list are eligible for inbound shipping through this mode.


This is for now the prevailing mode for cross border ecommerce for non-time sensitive products.


Products entering china under this mode are subject to personal postal tax rate, with big adjustment (decrease) as from November 1st.

  • Sporting equipment (except for golf and accessories), fishing equipment, shoes, clothing: to 25% from 30%

  • Wine, jewelry, watches and cosmetics: to 50 % from 60%

  • Medicine (new): 15% or 3% depends on HS code

Let it be general trade or cross border e-commerce, there has been clear signals from the authorities to support and to boost import to China.


General trade works for established brand to lower operation cost, further develop sales channel and to improve market share for existing products;


Cross boarder mode buys brand owner the time in product pre-registration when already having products selling in the market.


As an experienced cargo agent and logistics service provider in China, we are providing free consultation to established business or start-up that are planning the entry to this promising market.


Let us know if there is anything we could help

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