Take trade in goods as an example, from October 1, 2003 to July 31, 2009, China had imported USD23.643 billion worth of commodities subject to preferential treatment from ASEAN to which RMB14.259 billion of tariffs and import taxes reduction were granted , according to the customs statistics. Both of the two figures are the best among all the free trade agreements and preferential trading arrangements which had been implemented by China up to the present. In the imported commodities are not only the goods which enjoy competitive advantages traditionally like plastics, rubber, plant oil, vegetables and fruits, but also products such as shoes and hats, textiles and machinery and electric devices which newly emerged as competitive ones. Now, the influx of the quality products from ASEAN countries can be seen at 35 coastal and inland ports of China.
As for exports, from October 2003 to July 2009, China has issued 570,000 certificates of origin.
In order to ensure the full implementation of the TIG, secure the benefits which enterprises can gain from the tariff preferences and trade facilitation policies, provide a favorable environment for the companies engaged in the “going global ”strategy , meanwhile prevent a third party from reaping illegally the fruits of CAFTA and cushion domestic industries against the sharp increase from imported goods, China Customs has adopted a full range of measures in terms of clearance efficiency, institutional support, monitoring, authentication and publicity, making full preparation for the full implementation of CAFTA.
Invest More in Science and Technologies to Improve Clearance Efficiency
Customs administrations across China are keen on improving the clearance efficiency by various measures. For example, as one of the competent authorities of the major ports of entry of ASEAN goods, Shenzhen Customs District has implemented at its land ports the “automatic inspection and release system” under which the clearance time for vehicles will be reduced from 2 minutes to 4-5 seconds (about 20 times faster than before), a revolution on the clearance at land ports. The system will also be installed at the sea ports and the frontier posts through which the transit goods will pass, greatly raising the clearance speed.
Set up Dedicated Department to Consolidate the Institutional Foundation
Before the implementation of the “Early Harvest Program” prescribed in the Framework Agreement, the General Administration of China Customs assigned one of its subordinates, Place of Origin Management Office of Shenzhen Customs District (who was told to assist the Department of Duty Collection at a higher level) to take care all the coordination work and problem shooting relevant to the clearance of the ASEAN goods , to monitor the import tendency of the products subject to preferential treatment and to take charge of the authentication and verification of the certificate of origin. Meanwhile, the General Administration has strengthened the coordination and cooperation with other relevant departments, for example, the Ministry of Commerce to share and exchange information. We also established internal liaison mechanisms which can synergize the activities of the customs administrations at all levels, making sure that all the problems occurred in the clearance process will be solved in a timely manner.
Optimize Work Related to Authentication and Verification to Ensure the “Close Inspection and Speedy Clearance” for ASEAN Goods
According to the Framework Agreement, ASEAN goods are entitled to the preferential tariff only when the certificate of origin issued by certain authority of that member country is presented. For fear that a third party may use forged certificates to gain the right to preferential tariff, Place of Origin Management Office of Shenzhen Customs District has established a database against which the authenticity of the certificates can be checked, making sure all the ASEAN goods will be released quickly given a close inspection.
Keep all the Communication Channels Open to Maximize Publicity
China Customs has strengthened the publicity on CAFTA by newspapers, websites, presentations and other effect means. Meanwhile, we gave guidance to governments at local levels and enterprises with an aim to improve their understanding of the CAFTA rules, optimize the operation of relevant domestic industries, give support to Chinese enterprises in their expansion of ASEAN market, disperse market risks and raise the quality of Customs services.