Bolstering the China-ASEAN Expo with Best Service
September, 2007, Cao Yanping, deputy manager of Guangxi Guitong Customs Brokers Co. Ltd, was undertaking a training course held by Nanning Customs District for the forthcoming 4th China-ASEAN Expo where a newly developed “Information Management System for China-ASEAN Expo Inward Exhibits” was to be launched. Nanning Customs thus offered training programs to all companies who would work as the agent declaration enterprise and their staff.
Two years has passed, and the 6th China-ASEAN Expo is approaching. When asked about her take on the system, Cao confessed that maladjustment was felt at first, but the system did bring about improved efficiency of clearance of the exhibits and better management of them.
In 2006, Nanning Customs District built up the “Information Management System for China-ASEAN Expo Inward Exhibits”, and put the system into use at the 4th Expo held in 2007. After two years of operation, the system has gained prominent reputation. In 2008, even staff responsible for the clearance work of the Shanghai World Expo paid special learning visits to Nanjing for the system, a telling testimony of its enormous value.
But the system is only a minor measure taken by Nanjing Customs District to serve the China-ASEAN Expo. The Expo has expanded with years of development, and constant innovation of services by Nanning Customs District has run parallel with the expansion.
In 2005, Nanning Customs District started especially for the Expo a service named “Exhibition Through Train”. This service allows the exhibitors or their agents to select on their own the most suitable port of entry for their exhibits. The goods will then be transferred directly by the customs administration of that port to Nanning International Convention & Exhibition Center to go through customs procedures managed by the “resident” customs there, greatly reducing the time for clearance. “Exhibition Through Train” exercises the “at the booth inspection” mechanism to avoid damage to the goods caused by repeated unpacking and moving. Under such a mechanism, customs control and inspection will be done at the booth and at the time the goods are arranged for the exhibition at normal cases. Meanwhile, Nanning Customs District opened dedicated channels, provided full-time services and employed the “24-hour clearance at appointment” method to ensure good and timely service delivery for the Expo-related goods and exhibitors.
Each year, a working group stationed by Nanning Customs District in Guangxi Bureau of International Exposition Affairs who is responsible for the organization will join in the preparation work days before the opening of the Expo and provide quality services.
In 2008, drawing upon the experience gained from the past 5 Expos, Nanning Customs District officially issued 12 clearance facilitation measures, trying not only to standardize the clearance process but also make the measures fixed ones. Among the measures, there are some that need our special attention, for example, for the exhibits entering China for the Expo, the exhibitors may go through Customs declaration and verification and writing-off process by using the uniform Full List of Exhibits Imported for China-ASEAN Expo; and for the exhibits which are purchased during the Expo and those which are kept in mainland China for another exhibition, the exhibitors (relevant parties) may go through customs procedures by presenting the Declaration Form of Import Goods. Other measures include such clearance efficiency improving ones as to work closely with other relevant authorities like the Inspection and Quarantine Bureau to provide one-stop services.
Wang Xiaoguang, Director Assistant of the Guangxi Bureau of International Exposition Affairs and Deputy Secretary General of the China-ASEAN Expo Secretariat sees these measures as a driving force for the local export-oriented economy. At present, ASEAN is Guangxi’s largest trading partner and No.1 export market; the China-ASEAN Expo has provided a superb platform for economic exchanges between China and ASEAN, while success of the Expo would further boost ASEAN economic exchanges with Guangxi province, and with China at large.
Focus on Future Development and Stick to Innovative Services
Despite limited proportion in Guangxi’s economic aggregate, foreign trade is gaining enormous development momentum. According to the statistics of the Department of Commerce of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, the foreign trade volume for the province totaled USD 3.5 billion in 2006, USD 7.28 billion in 2007, and has risen to USD13.38 billion in 2008.
Currently, Nanning is emerging as a logistic and travelers' hub along the south China coast and in the western region as well. The setting up of China-ASEAN Free Trade Area has brought about great opportunities for the further development of Nanning Port, for example, the Nanning Bonded Logistic Center (Type B)has been approved by the state and is now under construction. Together with Qinzhou Bonded Port and Pingxiang Comprehensive Bonded Area, these three special customs control areas will form a bonded logistic system in Guangxi featuring synergy of the special areas and a low-cost logistic chain, helping Nanning find its niche as an international logistics distributing center.
To this end, Nanning Customs District, based on the actual conditions of the enterprises who engaged in import and export business in Guangxi, has put forward ten tailor-made measures which focus on lowering clearance costs, improving clearance efficiency and reducing financial pressure for the enterprises. With these measures, Nanning Customs District hoped to help enterprises actively tackle the financial crisis. Nanning Customs District also gave support to the establishment of the Nanning Bonded Logistic Center which is an integral part of the larger logistic system of the Beibuwan Economic Region of Guangxi.