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[No.174] Decree of the General Administration of Customs of the People’s Republic of China No.174


The Measures of the General Administration of Customs of the People’s Republic of China on Supervision and Control over the Entry and Exit of Articles of Foreign Diplomatic Missions in China and the Staff Thereof, which were deliberated and adopted at the Executive Meeting of the General Administration of Customs of the People’s Republic of China on March 10, 2008, are hereby promulgated and shall come into force as of October 1, 2008. The Measures for the Declaration of the Entry and Exit of Articles of Foreign Diplomatic Missions in China and the Staff Thereof promulgated by the General Administration of Customs on December 1, 1986 shall be abolished simultaneously.


Sheng Guangzu
Minister 
General Administration of Customs

June 5, 2008



Measures of the General Administration of Customs of the People’s Republic of China on Supervision and Control over the Entry and Exit of Articles of Foreign Diplomatic Missions in China and the Staff Thereof

(Adopted at the Executive Meeting of the General Administration of Customs on March 10, 2008, promulgated by Decree No.174 of the General Administration of Customs of the People’s Republic of China on June 5, 2008, and effective as of October 1, 2008)


Chapter I General Provisions

Article 1 These Measures are formulated in accordance with the Customs Law of the People’s Republic of China (hereinafter referred to as the Customs Law), the Regulations of the People’s Republic of China on Diplomatic Privileges and Immunities and the Provisions of the General Administration of Customs of the People’s Republic of China on the Entry and Exit of Articles of Foreign Diplomatic Missions in China and the Staff Thereof for the purpose of regulating the supervision and control over the entry and exit of articles of foreign diplomatic missions in China (hereinafter referred to as “diplomatic missions”) and the staff thereof for official or personal use (hereinafter referred to as “articles for official or personal use”).
Article 2 The entry and exit of articles of diplomatic missions and the staff thereof for official or personal use shall be governed by these Measures.
Article 3 The articles imported and exported by diplomatic missions and the staff thereof for official or personal use shall be limited to the directly needed quantity as ratified by Customs.
Article 4 Where, out of special needs, it is necessary for a diplomatic mission or a member of its staff to carry into or out of China an article whose entry or exit is prohibited or restricted by the Chinese government, it (he/she) shall acquire the approval of the competent authorities of the Chinese government in advance and comply with the relevant provisions.
Article 5 Where a diplomatic mission or a member of its staff is importing or exporting an article for official or personal use for the first time, it (he/she) shall go to the competent customs house and present the following documents for recordation formalities in advance:
(a) The original document issued by the competent authorities of the Chinese government that certifies the establishment of the diplomatic mission, and a photocopy thereof;
(b) A sample of the seal of the diplomatic mission and a sample signature of the head of mission or of the diplomatic representative authorized thereby, which are to be used for customs declaration documents, in quintuplicate; and
(c) A physical seal for diplomatic pouches and a sample certificate for diplomatic couriers, in quintuplicate.
If the diplomatic mission intends to send/receive a diplomatic pouch to/from an area outside the jurisdiction of the competent customs house, it shall file an application with the competent customs house and present a physical seal for diplomatic pouches and a sample certificate for diplomatic couriers. The competent customs house shall make a customs seal and hand it to the staff of the diplomatic mission, who shall then go through the recordation formalities at the customs house of the point of entry/exit.
(d) The valid entry/exit certificate of the staff member of the diplomatic mission and his/her spouse and underage children living together with him/her, the original identity certificate issued by the competent authorities of the Chinese government and the photocopy thereof, and the original document issued by the diplomatic mission for certifying the title of the aforesaid member of the mission, time of arrival, residence address, etc. and the photocopy thereof.
If there is any change to the above recordation information, the diplomatic mission or the member of its staff shall, within 10 working days as of the date of change, go through the formalities for modifying the recordation at the customs house.
Article 6 The incoming or outbound articles of a diplomatic mission or its staff for official or personal use shall be declared in writing or orally in accordance with the provisions of customs. For a declaration in writing, electronic data thereof shall also be submitted to customs.
Article 7 Where a diplomatic officer carries with him/her articles for personal use into or out of China, the articles shall be directly released by customs without inspection. If customs has substantial ground to believe that the articles contain items not included in the duty-free scope as prescribed in these Measures, or items whose entry or exit is prohibited by the Chinese government or subject to control by quarantine regulations, customs has the power to inspect the articles. The diplomatic officer or the person authorized thereby shall be present at the inspection conducted by customs.
Article 8 Under any of the following circumstances, the relevant articles of a diplomatic mission or of its staff shall be denied entry or exit:
(a) The articles to be carried into China exceed the directly needed quantity as ratified by customs;
(b) Formalities of recordation and declaration fail to be gone through at customs in accordance with Articles 5 and 6 of these Measures;
(c) In the absence of approval by customs, articles imported duty-free are transferred, sold or disposed of otherwise, and application for import of the same type of goods is filed again;
(d) The entry/exit of articles to be carried into/out of China is prohibited or restricted by the Chinese government, and relevant license documents fail to be presented; or
(e) Other circumstances where there is violation of the administrative provisions of customs on the entry/exit of articles of diplomatic missions and the staff thereof.
If the entry/exit of articles of a diplomatic mission or a member of its staff is denied by customs, it (he/she) shall, within 3 months as of the date of denial, go through the return formalities for the articles at Customs. If it (he/she) fails to do so within the time limit, customs shall dispose of the articles in accordance with Article 30 of the Customs Law.
Article 9 Without the approval of the competent customs house, no diplomatic mission and none of its staff members shall transfer, sell or dispose otherwise of any of its/their articles imported duty-free for official or personal use. When transferring, selling or disposing otherwise of the articles after approval has been obtained, it/they shall go through the formalities for duty payment or duty exemption at customs.
Where a diplomatic mission or a member of its staff transfers or sells a motor vehicle imported duty-free under Articles 10 and 11 of these Measures or accepts the transfer of such a motor vehicle, it (he/she) shall follow the relevant provisions of Chapter V of these Measures.


Chapter II Supervision and Control over Imported Articles


Article 10 Where a diplomatic mission imports into China such articles for official use as tobacco products, alcoholic beverages and motor vehicles, including those purchased at Chinese duty-free shops for diplomats or lawfully obtained through transference, customs shall exempt the duties on the said articles within the prescribed quantity (see Annex 1).
Article 11 Where a diplomatic officer imports into China such articles for personal use as tobacco products, alcoholic beverages and motor vehicles, including those purchased at Chinese duty-free shops for diplomats or lawfully obtained through transference, customs shall exempt the duties on the said articles within the prescribed quantity (see Annex 2).
Article 12 For administrative, technical or service staff of a diplomatic mission, if they are not Chinese nationals, nor permanent residents in China, their settlement articles (as for cars for personal use,only one for each household) imported into China within 6 months after their arrival shall be exempted from duties and released upon verification by customs after the competent customs house confirms that the articles are within the directly needed quantity. Articles imported into China after the expiration of the time limit shall be handled in accordance with the Measures of the General Administration of Customs of the People’s Republic of China on Supervision and Control over Articles Imported and Exported by Non-resident Permanent Passengers for Personal Use, if customs confirms that the articles are for personal use.
Article 13 Where a diplomatic mission or a member of its staff imports articles for official or personal use into China, it (he/she) shall fill out a Declaration Form of the Customs of the People’s Republic of China for Imported/Exported Diplomatic Items for Official/Personal Use (hereinafter referred to as the Declaration Form, see Annex 3), and file an application with the competent customs house together with the bill of lading (or waybill), invoice, packing list, photocopies of relevant identity certificates and other relevant documents. For the importation of a motor vehicle, a diplomatic note shall also be furnished.
Where a diplomatic mission imports into China articles necessary for non-commercial activities it holds or attends, it shall submit a diplomatic note and a written statement about the title of the articles, the location, date and scope of the activities, organizers, participants and the final disposal of the articles. If it is to hold an occasion at a place other than its own premises, it shall also furnish a duplicate of the contract concluded with the place where the activity is to be held.
Customs shall, within 10 working days as of the date of acceptance of the declaration, decide to approve or disapprove the entry of the said articles.
Article 14 For articles whose entry has been approved by customs, the diplomatic mission or its staff may authorize a customs broker to go through the customs formalities at the competent customs house.
If the point of entry is not within the jurisdiction of the competent customs house, the diplomatic mission or its staff shall authorize a customs broker to go through the customs formalities. The customs broker as authorized shall, in accordance with customs provisions on cross-customs cargo transshipment, transport the relevant articles to the competent customs house to go through the customs formalities.
Article 15 When a diplomatic officer carries with him/her articles for personal use into China, including those loaded on the same means of transport, he/she shall make an oral declaration to customs. However, if, at one time, he/she carries into China more than 400 cigarettes, or more than 100 cigars, or more than 500 grams of cut tobacco, or more than 2 bottles of alcoholic beverages containing 12 per cent alcohol upwards (limited to 750 ml per bottle), he/she shall file a written application with customs in accordance with Article 13 of these Measures and the quantity of the relevant articles shall be calculated into the granted quantity quota as prescribed in Article 11 of these Measures.
Article 16 Where a diplomatic mission or a member of its staff imports a motor vehicle into China, it (he/she) shall, within 10 working days as of the date of release by customs, apply for a Notice on Fetching/Revoking the Vehicle License Plate for the Entry/Exit of Vehicle under Customs Control of the People’s Republic of China (hereinafter referred to as the Notice of Fetching/Revoking the License Plate, see Annex 4) and go through the application formalities for obtaining a motor vehicle license plate.


Chapter III Supervision and Control over Exported Articles


Article 17 Where a diplomatic mission or a member of its staff exports out of China articles for official or personal use, it (he/she) shall file an application with the competent customs house by filling out a Declaration Form and presenting the Declaration Form together with the bill of lading (or waybill), invoice, packing list, photocopies of the relevant identity certificates and other relevant documents. If it (he/she) is to export a motor vehicle out of China, it (he/she) shall also furnish a diplomatic note.
The competent customs house shall, within 10 working days as of the date of acceptance of the application, decide to approve or disapprove the exit of the articles.
Article 18 For articles whose exit has been approved by customs, the diplomatic mission or its staff shall authorize a customs broker to go through the customs formalities at the customs of point of exit. If the point of exit is not within the jurisdiction of the competent customs house, the customs broker as authorized shall, in accordance with customs provisions on cross-customs cargo transshipment, transport the relevant articles to the customs of point of exit and go through the customs formalities there.
Article 19 When a diplomatic officer carries with him/her articles for personal use out of China, including those loaded on the same means of transport, he/she shall make an oral declaration to customs. 
Article 20 Where a diplomatic mission or a member of its staff intends to re-export out of China a motor vehicle previously imported, it (he/she) shall apply to the competent customs house for approval. With the Notice of Fetching/Revoking the License Plate issued by customs, the diplomatic mission or its staff shall go through the license plate revoking formalities at the public security & transportation authorities. Upon presentation of the return receipt of the Notice of Fetching/Revoking the License Plate by the diplomatic mission or its staff, the competent customs house shall go through the formalities to clear the case.
Where a staff member of a diplomatic mission in possession of a motor vehicle previously imported duty-free is leaving his/her post and going back to the sending State, and as such has to go through the exporting formalities of his/her articles for personal use, he/she shall first go to the competent customs house for formalities to clear the case on his/her vehicle for personal use.


Chapter IV Supervision and Control over Diplomatic Pouches

Article 21 Diplomatic pouches sent or received by a diplomatic mission shall contain diplomatic papers or articles intended for official use only, comply with the relevant provisions of the Chinese government on the weight and dimensions of diplomatic pouches, and be sealed with the seal of the diplomatic mission already recorded at customs.
Article 22 When a diplomatic courier is carrying diplomatic pouches into or out of China, including those loaded on the same means of transport, he/she shall be provided with a courier certificate issued by the competent authorities of the sending State that indicates his/her capacity and the number of diplomatic pouches he/she carries. After customs has verified that the courier certificate is authentic and valid, it shall give release instruction without inspection.
Article 23 Where diplomatic pouches are forwarded by the captain of a commercial aircraft, he/she shall be provided with an official certifying document issued by the consigner State indicating the number of the diplomatic pouches carried. The relevant diplomatic mission shall send its staff to deliver/receive the diplomatic pouches to/from the captain of the aircraft. After customs has confirmed the number of the diplomatic pouches and verified that the identity certificates of the staff of the mission are authentic and valid, it shall give release instruction without inspection.
Article 24 Where a diplomatic mission is shipping into or out of China diplomatic pouches by means other than those prescribed in Articles 22 and 23 of these Measures, the diplomatic pouches shall be deposited in customs control warehouses to be picked up or delivered by staff of the diplomatic mission. After verifying that the identity certificates of the staff of the mission are authentic and valid, customs shall give release instruction without inspection.


Chapter V Follow-up Supervision and Control over Motor Vehicles


Article 25 The motor vehicle imported duty-free by a diplomatic mission or its staff and the motor vehicle transferred to the diplomatic mission or its staff under Articles 10 and 11 of these Measures fall within the jurisdiction of customs control. The competent customs house shall exercise follow-up control over the vehicles. The customs control period is 6 years for a motor vehicle for official use, and 3 years for a motor vehicle for personal use, as of the date of release by customs.
In the absence of approval by customs, the above-mentioned motor vehicles shall not be transferred or sold within the customs control period.
Article 26 The motor vehicles imported duty-free by a diplomatic mission or its staff shall not be transferred or sold within 2 years as of the date of release by customs except when the staff member of the diplomatic mission leaves his/her post earlier before the expiration of his/her term.
For a motor vehicle imported duty-free whose transfer or sale is allowed under the preceding paragraph, when it is transferred or sold, an application shall be filed with the competent customs house in advance. Only after approval is obtained from customs can the motor vehicle be transferred to a diplomatic mission posted by another country in China or the staff thereof, or a permanent body stationed in China or the staff thereof, or a franchised operational unit approved by customs. Where duties are to be levied, the assignee shall go through the back duty payment formalities at customs. Where the assignee is a diplomatic mission posted by another country in China or the staff thereof, its (his/her) quota for importation of motor vehicles shall be deducted accordingly.
Where the assignee of the motor vehicle is also entitled to import a motor vehicle duty-free, the duties on the transferred motor vehicle shall be exempted. The competent customs house of the assignee shall exercise follow-up supervision and control over that motor vehicle in the remaining customs control period.
Article 27 After the customs control period of the motor vehicle imported duty-free by a diplomatic mission or its staff has expired, it (he/she) may apply to customs for lifting the control.
In applying for the lifting of the customs control, it (he/she) shall present a diplomatic note, an Application Form of the Customs of the People’s Republic of China for Lifting Control over Vehicles for Official/Personal Use (see Annex 5) and the relevant motor vehicle driving permit to the competent customs house for control lifting formalities.
With the approval of the competent customs house and the Certificate of the Customs of the People’s Republic of China for Lifting Customs Control over Motor Vehicles (hereinafter referred to as Certificate for Lifting Customs Control over Motor Vehicles, see Annex 6) issued by customs, the diplomatic mission or its staff shall go to the public security & transportation authorities for the rest of the formalities.
Article 28 Where, within the customs control period, a motor vehicle imported duty-free has been severely damaged due to an accident or a force majeure, or has lost its useful value due to wearing and tearing, expiration of service life or other reasons, the diplomatic mission or its staff may apply to the competent customs house for the liquidation of the motor vehicle. Upon verification and approval, customs shall issue a Notice of Fetching/Revoking the License Plate and a Certificate for Lifting Customs Control over Motor Vehicles, with which the diplomatic mission or its staff shall go through the revoking formalities of the motor vehicle at the public security & transportation authorities, and then go back to the competent customs house with the return receipt of the Notice of Fetching/Revoking the License Plate for the formalities to clear the case on the motor vehicle. 
Article 29 Under any of the following circumstances that occur to a motor vehicle imported duty-free, the diplomatic mission or its staff may apply again for the importation of the same number of motor vehicles: 
(a) A motor vehicle admitted duty-free has been lawfully transferred and sold in accordance with the provisions of Article 26 of these Measures and the relevant formalities have been gone through; or
(b) A motor vehicle admitted duty-free has been severely damaged due to an accident or a force majeure, or has lost its useful value due to wearing and tearing, expiration of service life or other reasons, and the formalities to clear the case on the motor vehicle have been gone through.
 

Chapter VI Supplementary Provisions


Article 30 For the purposes of these Measures:
“Articles for official use” refer to articles imported or exported that are directly needed by a diplomatic mission in performing its official functions, including:
(a) Office supplies, office equipment and vehicles in service of the diplomatic mission;
(b) Items needed for non-commercial activities that the diplomatic mission holds or attends;
(c) Maintenance tools and equipment for use in the diplomatic mission;
(d) Fixed assets of the diplomatic mission, including construction and decorative materials, furniture, household electrical appliances, ornaments, etc;
(e) Printed materials used as free handouts of the diplomatic mission (excluding advertisements and promotional materials); and
(f) Items used in reception functions or as gifts by the diplomatic mission.
“Articles for personal use” refer to articles for daily use by staff members of a diplomatic mission, their spouses and underage children living together with them during their stay in China, including motor vehicles for personal use (limited to motorcycles, sedan cars, off-road vehicles, and minibuses with no more than 9 seats).
“Directly needed quantity” means the quantity needed by diplomatic missions to perform their official functions, and the quantity needed by staff members of the diplomatic missions, their spouses and underage children living together with them during their stay in China for their personal use only, as ratified by customs.
“Competent customs house” means the regional customs whose jurisdiction covers the location of the diplomatic missions.
Article 31 The entry and exit of articles for official or personal use of consular posts and representative offices of the United Nations, its specialized agencies and other international organizations stationed in China or the staff thereof shall be handled by customs in accordance with the Regulations of the People’s Republic of China Concerning Consular Privileges and Immunities, international conventions China has acceded to and agreements China has concluded with relevant countries or international organizations. Matters not clearly covered in those regulations, conventions and agreements shall be dealt with in reference to the provisions of these Measures . 
Article 32 Where the privileges and facilitations accorded by a foreign government to the entry and exit of articles of a Chinese diplomatic mission and its staff members in that State are fewer than those China would give under these Measures to the entry and exit of articles of the diplomatic mission of that State in China and its staff members, China Customs may accord them such treatment as appropriate on a reciprocal basis.
Article 33 The power of interpretation of these Measures shall lie with the General Administration of Customs.
Article 34 These Measures shall enter into force as of October 1, 2008. The Measures for the Declaration of the Entry and Exit of Articles of Foreign Diplomatic Missions in China and the Staff Thereof promulgated by the General Administration of Customs on December 1, 1986 shall be abolished simultaneously


Annexes: 
1. Table of Quantity Limits on Tobacco Products, Alcoholic Beverages and Motor Vehicles Imported by Diplomatic Missions for Official Use
2. Table of Quantity Limits on Tobacco Products, Alcoholic Beverages and Motor Vehicles Imported by Diplomatic Officers for Personal Use
3. Declaration Form of the Customs of the People’s Republic of China for Imported/Exported Diplomatic Items for Official/Personal Use (omitted)
4. Notice on Fetching/Revoking the Vehicle License Plate for the Entry/Exit of Vehicle under Customs Control of the People’s Republic of China (omitted)
5. Application Form of the Customs of the People’s Republic of China for Lifting Control over Vehicles for Official/Personal Use (omitted)
6. Certificate of the Customs of the People’s Republic of China for Lifting Customs Control over Motor Vehicles (omitted)

Annex 1

Table of Quantity Limits on Tobacco Products, Alcoholic Beverages and Motor Vehicles Imported by Diplomatic Missions for Official Use

Total Number of Diplomatic Officers of the Mission

Cigarettes

per annum

Alcoholic Beverages

per annum

Motor Vehicles for Official Use

Less than 10 persons

50 cartons

1,000 bottles

The total number of motor vehicles for official use shall not exceed the total number of diplomatic officers of the mission.

10 to 20 persons

100 cartons

2,000 bottles

More than 20 persons

200 cartons

4,000 bottles


Annex 2


Table of Quantity Limits on Tobacco Products, Alcoholic Beverages and Motor Vehicles Imported by Diplomatic Officers for Personal Use

Items

Types

Quantity Limits

Notes

Tobacco Products

Cigarettes

15,000 pcs.

Per annum/person

Cigars

1,000 pcs.

Cut tobacco

5,000 grams

Alcoholic Beverages

Alcoholic beverages containing 12% to 22 % alcohol

300 bottles

Liquor containing more than 22% alcohol

100 bottles

Motor Vehicles for Personal Use

Motorcycle, sedan car, off-road vehicle, or minibus with no more than 9 seats (choose one type only)

1/person

The total number of motor vehicles for personal use of diplomatic officers shall not exceed the total number of diplomatic officers of the mission.



(All information in this document is authentic in Chinese. English is provided for reference only. In case of any discrepancy, the Chinese version shall prevail.)


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General Administration of Customs of the People's Republic of China

Address: No.6. Jianguomennei Avenue, Dongcheng District, Beijing, China        Postcode: 100730