Interim Measures for the Administration of Customs Pre-rulings (Mainland China)

Joline Chen

To promote trade safety and convenience and optimize the business environment, the General Administration of Customs promulgated the Interim Measures for the Administration of Customs Pre-rulings (the “Measures”) on December 26, 2017, which went into effect on February 1, 2018.  The Measures are highlighted below:

1. The applicant, application items and subjects: Pursuant to the Measures, the customs only handle customs matters that relate to actual import or export activities. The applicant may apply for pre-ruling on the goods classification, country of origin or country-of-origin qualification of imported or exported goods, or elements related to duty-paid value of imported or exported goods and their appraisal methods. The applicant shall be a foreign trade operator that actually engages in import or export activities and is registered with the customs.

2. Application time, acceptance and statute of limitation of pre-ruling: An applicant is required to file its pre-ruling application with the customs authority it is directly overseeing its place of registration three months prior to the scheduled import or export of goods. The customs shall review and decide if such application is acceptable within 10 days upon receipt of the application and relevant materials. Once the application is accepted, the customs shall issue a “pre-ruling decision” within 60 days after the date of acceptance.  However, if an individual case requires chemical testing, inspection, survey, expert testimonies or other methods to ascertain relevant circumstances, the time required would not be included in the above 60-day period.

3. Term and validity of pre-ruling: A pre-ruling shall be valid for three years. A pre-ruling is not retroactively effective to goods that have been already been imported or exported before its effective date.

4. Legal liabilities: In case an applicant provides false materials or conceals relevant circumstances, the customs may issue a warning along with a fine of up to RMB10,000. If the customs has rendered an effective pre-ruling based on false materials provided by an applicant, the customs shall cancel the pre-ruling and notify the applicant of such.