Keywords: importers, exporters, GAC, online clearance system

For the approximately 14,000 Beijing-based companies with frequent import and export shipments China's General Administration of Customs (GAC) has commenced the implementation of some welcome changes.

Currently, more than half of these Beijing-based companies have to export their products through Tianjin and Hebei, which can be slow and costly.

With effect July 1, 2014, Beijing and Tianjin Customs are introducing simplified procedures through a new regional integrated online clearance system, which will facilitate trade through the region.

Four unified platforms have been established in a centralized customs clearance center. This center will take charge of required processes, including declarations, document examinations, risk control and field operations, across the region.

GAC anticipates that Hebei Customs will join this integrated system in October 2014, effectively integrating 43 Customs clearance sites in Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei. The system also will be implemented in China's Pearl Delta and Yangtze River areas in October 2014. Each of these Customs clearance centers will be able to share information through this regional online integrated clearance center.

The impact on traders is great. With this new system, a company in the region can choose any Customs office within the region to lodge their import or export declarations.

GAC has indicated that following the completion of related customs procedures, any Customs offices in the area will recognize checks conducted by their counterparts. This will have cost saving and time saving benefits. Other key benefits are the potential elimination of having to use different tariff classifications at some ports of entry for the same goods, acceptance of value at one port and not having to deal with multiple Customs offices.

The average clearance time for importing and exporting through Beijing Capital International Airport had been approximately 8 hours.

July 1, 2014, we understand that Customs offices in Tianjin and Beijing processed approximately 260 cross-customs orders with each taking only a minute to complete customs clearance.

However, we anticipate that there could be implementation delays during this initial period.

If you have any personal experiences with using this new system, we welcome your thoughts.

Originally published August 8, 2014

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