By Colbert Lam

Beginning Aug. 1 companies importing into China must file a new, single customs declaration that combines the requirements of the General Administration of Customs and China Inspection and Quarantine. However, there are already reports that confusion about the new declaration has resulted in shipment problems.

CIQ was recently merged into China Customs as part of an effort by Beijing to improve trade facilitation. CIQ is tasked with enforcing the national standards China imposes on all goods in the domestic market, while China Customs collects confirmation on the customs declaration that imported goods meet those standards. With the merger of the two agencies the customs declaration has been overhauled to require specific information and declaration pertaining to CIQ requirements. As a result, beginning Aug. 1 importers must file one single declaration according to the new template provided at or rather than filing separate declarations as before.

The new declaration process is generally viewed as providing increased efficiency, as all declaration formalities for goods import or export will now be completed at one stop. The new customs declaration template eliminates the repetitive input of information and reduces the data required to 105 boxes.

It is noteworthy that the input of the HS code for individual imported goods has been increased from 10 digits to 13 digits in the new declaration template. There is no change to the usual 10-digit HS code used to classify imported goods; instead, the extra digits are reserved for the completion of the CIQ requirements. It is therefore imperative for importers to ascertain the CIQ examination standard clearly and correctly. In the past the separate declarations for CIQ and China Customs led to mismatches or incorrect declarations of the CIQ requirements against the imported goods, which resulted in inconsistency and even failure to obtain the requisite inspection certificate or import license. The new single declaration process should detect any such inconsistencies on a more timely basis and thus help avoid delays in the release of goods.

There are also other changes to the information required on the declaration, which must therefore be examined carefully before completion. Early reports indicate that confusion about these requirements is causing some shipments to be delayed.

For more information on the new customs declaration and how to properly complete it, please contact Colbert Lam or Harry Zhang. You can also click here for information on ST&R’s on-demand webinar on China customs and trade issues.

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