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Press Release for March 21, 2019 Media Briefing by the Shanghai Municipal People's Government

March 22, 2019

The Information Office of Shanghai Municipality held a press conference today (March 21), at which Wu Wei, deputy director of Shanghai Municipal Commission of Commerce (Shanghai Municipal Office for Port Services), introduced "Measures Deepening the Reform of Cross-border Trade Business Environment in Shanghai Port", and Shi Jian, deputy director of Shanghai Customs, introduced the specific measures concerning Shanghai Customs. Zhang Lin, deputy director of the Municipal Transportation Commission; Shi Jian, deputy director of Shanghai Customs; Wu Hongbing, deputy director of Shanghai Maritime Safety Administration; Li Guoguan, deputy director of the Shanghai General Station of Immigration Inspection; and Zhang Xin, vice president of the Shanghai International Port Group Co, all attended the press conference and answered questions from journalists.

1. The Municipal Commission of Commerce (the Municipal Office for Port Services) released the documents

The "Measures Deepening the Reform of Cross-border Trade Business Environment in Shanghai Port" contains 22 items, and was jointly formulated by the Municipal Commission of Commerce (the Municipal Office for Port Services) , the Municipal Development and Reform Commission, the Municipal Transportation Commission, the Municipal Finance Bureau, the Municipal Market Supervision Bureau and the Shanghai Customs.

Last year, Shanghai's efforts to improve the business environment for cross-border trade achieved good results. In terms of the cross-border trade, one of the World Bank's indicators for business environment, China ranked 65th in over 190 economies worldwide, up from 97th. On this basis, this year, Shanghai continues to thoroughly implement the State Council's Work Plan on Optimizing Port Business Environment and Promoting Cross-Border Trade Facilitation and the implementation plan on further improving the business environment in Shanghai issued by Shanghai Municipal Party Committee and the Municipal Government. Authorities released the "22 measures" and published the document in both Chinese and English on relevant government websites and platforms such as the Shanghai International Trade Single Window.

The 22 measures includes six parts, focusing on the general concern of the government, enterprises and the society about the actual situation of "improving efficiency and reducing fees" in Shanghai Port. Several related reform measures were highlighted, such as pushing forward "in-advance declaration" and "inspecting after release", simplifying documentary procedures, promoting the application of advanced facilities and equipment, standardization of service processes, and strengthening price supervision and inspection.

The main contents are as follows:

1.About “in-advance declaration” and “"in-advance exchange of B/L & D/O”. After the new import and export declaration systems were launched last year by the Shanghai Customs, a complete operation chain has been formed among the Customs, agencies, shipyards and ports. The related four measures are to guide companies and let them take the initiative to adjust their work formalities based on the new policies and further reduce clearance time.

2.About document arrangement. The related four measures are to accelerate reforms in simplifying the procedure and promoting paperless documenting by Shanghai ports. After the reforms, the time needed is mainly for clearance (declaration and tariff payment) and document exchange. It can be done within four hours under regular circumstances. Export declaration and getting the originality certificate can also be completed within two hours.

3.About the improvement of clearance efficiency. The related three measures are to highlight the construction of a Big Data platform for Shanghai ports and the requirement by the General Administration of Customs to improve supervision hardware and related trade facilitating policies. They create a bigger space for future reforms of Shanghai ports.

4.About ports and shipping operation. The related four measures are to regulate information digitization in logistics and better follow related time of production and services. They can make it easier for traders to manage the whole clearance procedure.

5.About the reduction of charges. The related three measures are to implement the national and city policies to cut costs for traders. Since March 20, the fees of THC and documenting for shipping companies have been lowered, and the fees charged by ports have been reduced on different levels since April 1.

6.About standardizing services. The related four measures are to address the issues such as difficulties in lodging complaints and insufficient transparency in intermediary agencies. They offer to improve the channels for opinion collection, make it more open to rate agencies by their services and standardize punishments.

Disclosure materials by Shanghai Customs

First, we are promoting "making declarations in advance" in an all-round way.

For imported goods, the customs encourages the declarant to making declarations after confirming the transmission of manifest information and before the arrival of the goods. For export goods, the enterprise may declare to the customs within 3 days after confirming the transmission of the pre-configured manifest and before the goods are transported to the customs supervision place. In this way, non-inspected imported goods can be released and lifted upon arrival, and exported goods can be released and loaded upon arrival.

Shanghai Customs issued No.1 announcement for this year on March 20, and the Waigaoqiao Port has begun to carry out such practice for imported goods on a trial basis.

Second, we have pushed forward reforms on“clearance before collecting taxes” 

We would like to say more about the customhouse bonds insurance, which takes the consignee and consignor of import and export goods as the policy holder, and the customs as the insured. After purchasing such insurance from the insurance company, enterprises can go through the tax guarantee formalities with us by virtue of the insurance policy issued by the underwriter. Then we can make clearance first and then collect taxes on those companies.

Since September 1st 2018, the amount of guarantee has reached 1.513 billion yuan, and such policy has been well received.

Third, we have implemented a mechanism which tolerates fault for imported goods while making declarations in advance.

The Customs attaches great importance to the establishment of a mechanism which tolerates fault for imported goods. Violations that are not intentionally caused by the enterprise's subjective intention and which are reported to the Customs by enterprise on its own in written forms can be corrected in a timely manner can be given lighter, mitigated or exempted from punishment.

Fourth, we have launched trials on “inspecting after release”supervision mode.

Imported mineral products including iron and manganese mines can be picked up from the Customs supervision area if they meet inspection and quarantine standards, while laboratory inspection can be made and certificate be issued thereafter.

Fifth, we have launched trials on “centralized image recognition”and “in-advance scanning.”

“In-advance scanning” means before enterprises declare their goods, we will compare and analyze their Customs import declarations and the image of “in-advance scanning”to fend off security and entry risks as well as to realize nil interference supervision. In Shanghai, this will be piloted in Yangshan Bonded Port.

Sixth, we have accelerated the construction of Cross-border Trade Management Big Data Platform

Leveraging our Customs strengths, we have established the CTMBDP to improve both security and convenience through big data application. By now, about 700 million data have been collected by the platform from various sources and can be smoothly shared with the China (Shanghai) International Trade Single Window, the IT platforms of shipping companies as well as seaports and airports.

Seventh, we have launched trials on “Self-printing.”

This reform refers to self-printing of “Customs-specific payment sheet.”Compared to the previous approach which required enterprises to go to the Customs business counters to get the sheet themselves, it frees enterprises from the risk of loss and saves their time as well.