China: Maritime Legal Update – March 2014

Last Updated: 23 May 2014
Article by Shanghai Kai-Rong Law Firm

1. Measures for Disclosing Customs Information Released

On February 26, the General Administration of Customs released the Measures for Disclosing Government Information by Customs of the People's Republic of China (the "Measures") which shall come into effect as of April 1, 2014.

The Measures clarify issues concerning the scope and methods of disclosure as well as procedures, supervision and protection, etc.

The Measures provide that any citizen, legal person or other organization that finds any Customs has failed to perform the obligation to disclose the customs information may lodge a complaint to the customs supervision authorities, the authorities in charge of the disclosure of customs information or the Customs of the next higher level. The Customs or authorities receiving the complaint shall conduct an investigation.


2. The SAT Clarifies Tax Rebate (Exemption) on Exported Goods of Integrated Foreign Trade Service Enterprises

On February 27, the State Administration of Taxation ("SAT") released the Announcement on Issues concerning Tax Rebates (Exemptions) on Exported Goods of Integrated Foreign Trade Service Enterprises (the "Announcement"), which will come into effect as of April 1, 2014.

According to the Announcement, when declaring tax rebates (exemptions), an integrated foreign trade service enterprise shall meet the following conditions: (1) the exported goods must be produced by the production enterprise itself; (2) the production enterprise must have sold the exported goods to an integrated foreign trade service enterprise; (3) the production enterprise must have signed an export contract with the overseas organization or individual, agreeing that the goods will be exported by the integrated foreign trade service enterprise to the overseas organization or individual and the money will be paid by the overseas organization or individual to the integrated foreign trade service enterprise; and (4) the integrated foreign trade service enterprise must have exported the goods as a self-run business.


3. Three Authorities Issued Measures for Dynamic Supervision of Road Transport Vehicles

Recently, the Ministry of Transport, the Ministry of Public Security and the State Administration of Work Safety jointly issued the Administrative Measures for the Dynamic Supervision of Road Transport Vehicles (the "Measures"), which will come into effect as of July 1, 2014.

The Measures, consisting of 42 articles in six chapters, are applicable to situations where satellite positioning devices with the function of travel recording are installed and used in road transport vehicles and relevant safety supervision and management activities. According to the Measures, the road transport authorities, the traffic administrative departments under the public security authorities and the safety supervision authorities shall be jointly in charge of the dynamic supervision of road transport vehicles.


4. The MOT Promotes Transformation and Upgrading of Ports

On March 6, the Ministry of Transport ("MOT") released the draft Guiding Opinions on Promoting the Transformation and Upgrading of Ports (the "Opinions") for public comment until March 17.

The draft Opinions clarify the major tasks in promoting the transformation and upgrading of ports, including expanding the service function of ports by speeding up the pace of the building of modern ports, improving port transportation systems to enhance the role of ports as hubs, promoting the development of green ports for resources conservation and environmental protection, deepening the construction of safe ports to tighten the administration of port safety, and vigorously boosting port information technology to promote the efficient and convenient operation of ports.


5. Announcement of the MOT to Cancel and Delegate to Lower Level a Group of Administrative Examination and Approval Items

Document NO.8 (2014) of the MOT Issued on 11th March, 2014:

According to decision of the State Council on Matters concerning a Group of Administrative Approval Items to Be Cancelled and Delegated to Lower Levels (No. 5 [2014] of the State Council), 5 items of administrative approvals be referred to MOT.

To be cancelled (2 items approval):

  1. To employ foreigners to serve on ships of Chinese nationality;
  2. Emergency plan of prevention and cure of marine environment pollution related to some operators and activities.

To delegate to the competent authorities of transport under provincial government (3 items):

  1. Approval of inter-province common goods carriage by water;
  2. Verification of B class supervisor's qualification certification on water transport engineering;
  3. Verification of special supervisor's qualification certification on water transport mechanical & electrical engineering.


6. MHI was sued by MOL

Japanese carrier Mitsui OSK Lines (MOL) has reportedly filed a claim in the Tokyo District Court against Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) following last year's sinking of the 8110-TEU 'MOL Comfort'.

It is understood the claim encompasses damages and compensation as well as covering the costs of strengthening six sister ships.

The hull and machinery of the 'MOL Comfort' were insured for US$66 million, while the sinking is being estimated to cost insurers between US$300-400 million in claims.

Launched from MHI's Nagasaki yard in 2008, the Bahamian-flagged and post-Panamax containership suffered a crack amidships in rough weather while steaming between Singapore and Jeddah in the Indian Ocean on June 17.

Having split in two, the aft section sank ten days later, while the bow section remained afloat until being ravished by fire and ultimately sinking on July 11.

According to MOL media information, the cause of the incident remains undetermined. However, it temporarily withdrew its sister ships from service to enable their hulls to be upgraded and introduced operational changes to reduce structural stresses.


The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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