On December 8, 2017, the General Administration of Customs promulgated the Administrative Measures of the Customs of the People’s Republic of China for Temporarily Imported or Exported Goods (the “New Law”), which came into effect on February 1, 2018, while the Administrative Measures of the Customs of the People’s Republic of China for Goods Temporarily Imported or Exported Goods of 2013 (the “Old Law”) was abolished at the same time. As compared with the Old Law, the New Law contains changes in the legal basis, scope of imported and exported goods, procedural deadlines, scope of application and table of terms. The specifics are highlighted below.
1. Legal basis
Compared to the Old Law, the New Law added the Regulations of the People’s Republic of China on Import and Export Duties, and one additional article as Article 4, which provides that temporarily imported or exported goods shall be enforced pursuant to relevant provisions of the Regulations on Import and Export Duties. This clarifies the tax collection of temporarily imported or exported goods.
2. Scope of imported or exported goods
With respect to the scope of temporarily imported or exported goods, one category is added to Article 3 of the New Law. This means that “products, equipment or vehicles for testing” will also be included in the scope of temporarily imported or exported goods, while the Old Law did not.
3. Procedural deadlines
With respect to the procedures, Article 7 of the New Law provides that for import or export formalities, the holder of an ATA Carnet for the Temporary Admission of Goods (the “ATA Carnet”), or the consignor or consignee of goods temporarily exported under a non-ATA Carnet may choose to either go through the relevant formalities during the examination of the scope of goods prior to the customs declaration, or directly proceed with the relevant formalities upon declaration. Especially with respect to imported or exported goods for exhibition, the New Law streamlines the handling procedure by cancelling the previous requirement to handle the process 20 days in advance. For application to extend the deadline for re-import or re-export, Article 11 of the New Law cancels the requirement that an application shall be filed 30 days before the deadline expires and instead only requires such application to be handled before the deadline expires. For circumstances where a temporary import is changed to import and re-export, or proceeding with write-off formalities after import, the New Law also cancels the requirement of “30 days prior to the deadline.” In addition, with respect to the scenario where transit is required for an exhibition organized across two customs regions, Article 18 of the New Law provides that there is no need to handle the transit formalities if full-process guarantee is provided. Moreover, for a renewed ATA Carnet, the New Law allows a change to the serial number. Articles 21 and 22 of the New Law further clarifies that if the customs send officials to be stationed at an exhibition venue, upon consent of the customs, the exhibition organizer is no longer required to provide a guarantee for the exhibition items. However, if the exhibition items subsequently need to be removed from the venue, the corresponding guarantees are still required.
4. Scope of application
The Old Law specifically exclude “temporarily imported or exported articles and imported or exported leased objects of foreign institutions and their personnel in China who enjoy diplomatic privileges and immunities.” However, the New Law has deleted this provision. It can be inferred that those “temporarily imported or exported articles and imported or exported leased objects” now also require declaration with the relevant formalities completed pursuant to the New Law once it is implemented.
Meanwhile, the New Law provides an interpretation of packaging materials by stipulating that packaging materials refer to materials used in their original state for packaging, protecting, filling or separating goods, as well as devices used for transportation, loading, unloading or stacking.
From an overall perspective, the New Law does not enact large changes relative to the Old Law. However, the New Law clarifies the basis for applying tariffs to temporarily imported or exported goods and streamlines the procedures to a certain extent. It is believed that this will provide further convenience to enterprises that need to deal with customs clearance for goods that are temporarily imported or exported.