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Helping More Businesses Speed Through Customs

Saving time and saving money – two things that are music to the ears of everyone -- and helping businesses do both of these is a key part of what we do here at the Chamber.

So we are very pleased that Mainland China recently expanded its ATA Carnet scheme to cover the temporary and duty-free importation of professional equipment and commercial samples. Previously, it only admitted items destined for exhibitions and trade fairs.

Put simply, ATA Carnet is a passport for goods. It is an international customs document that allows businesses to import items temporarily to 78 countries or districts without paying various duties or taxes. This also means they can skip the time-consuming paperwork that complying with such duties often entails.

In another bonus, the customs authorities have also extended the period for which goods may be brought into the Mainland from six to 12 months from the date of issue.

The new list of approved goods is quite extensive, and includes scientific and medical equipment, musical instruments, as well as goods for testing, demonstrations and advertising.

The China General Customs admitted 31,303 ATA Carnets from around the world in 2018, an increase of 4.9% over 2017. Already, some Hong Kong companies have taken their commercial samples with Carnets to the Mainland after the extension, and quite a number of professional firms are seeking operational details from the Chamber to speed through customs with their equipment.

This is a reform that we have been calling for on behalf of our members. In our annual CEPA submissions to the Mainland authorities, we have discussed expanding the scope of ATA Carnets, so we are very pleased to see the expanded list of items.

In the past, some of our members reported that they encountered operational constraints under CEPA – a case of “the big doors are open but the small doors are not yet open.” The expansion of ATA Carnet shows that CEPA is helping to deliver yet more practical measures for companies doing business across the border.

ATA Carnet is just one of the wide range of business certification services that we offer to help companies do business. Our experienced staff can help companies to process these necessary documents as efficiently as possible, and oftentimes online.

Making business procedures more straightforward and efficient benefits everyone. Part of our mission at the Chamber to lobby for this, whether it is reducing red tape, ensuring regulations are up-to-date, or expanding and improving the efficiency of customs procedures.

So we are delighted to see this action by the Mainland’s customs authorities and look forward to helping more companies grow their business with our business documentation services.

Posted on 2019/04/10