Before the goods may be released by customs, they will have to undergo declaration and the relevant duties will have to be paid.

The declaration formalities must be completed by a qualified declarant, who may be a suitably qualified individual or agent appointed by the FIE. The declarant will fill in a declaration form and collate the relevant documentation, including the import licence, bill of lading, commodities inspection certificate, purchase contracts etc. and will submit these to the customs authorities. The declarant may also accompany the customs officers to inspect the imported goods and will supervise payment of the duties.

The declaration of the imported goods must be made within 14 days of the arrival of the goods.

After the declaration and the assessment of duties, the goods will be released upon the payment of the duties or the provision of a guarantee of payment by the FIE. Upon release, the customs authorities will return the relevant freight documents and the FIE may then take delivery of the goods.

For further information, see the articles headed "Import licensing in the PRC", "Import tariffs in the PRC" and "Commodity inspection in the PRC".

The contents of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specific advice should be sought about individual circumstances. Further information or advice may be obtained from Linklaters & Paines, Hong Kong office, 14th Floor, Alexandra House, Chater Road, Hong Kong; telephone: (852) 2842 4888; fax: (852) 2810 8133; contact David Mullarkey or Jeremy Parr.