Business / Economy

Customs slashes red tape along the Silk Road

By Xie Chuangjiao and Hu Qing (China Daily) Updated: 2015-05-09 10:54

Not long ago, Liu Jinjuan, a manager at China Master Logistics Co Ltd in Qingdao, Shandong province, had to cross-check customs clearance data with colleagues in Zhengzhou, Henan province.

At the time, the company had to declare imported goods in both cities before the merchandise went into warehouses in Zhengzhou. Not only that: Further declarations were needed when any goods went to different customs districts elsewhere in China.

But the red tape has been drastically reduced. On April 27, Qingdao and Zhengzhou-along with eight other cities on the Silk Road Economic Belt-unified their customs procedures. The move was the result of an order on March 30 by the General Administration of Customs.

The other eight cities are Jinan (Shandong), Taiyuan (Shanxi), Xi'an (Shaanxi), Yinchuan (Ningxia Hui), Lanzhou (Gansu), Xining (Qinghai), Urumqi (Xinjiang Uygur) and Lhasa (Tibet).

These 10 customs divisions account for 10 percent of the nation's entire merchandise trade.

Liu's company now only needs to declare imported goods once in Qingdao. The streamlined process has helped the company save time and money.

"Moving goods among the 10 customs districts does not have to be carried out by bonded vehicles designated by customs, so companies will have more and cheaper shipping choices," Liu added.

The common clearance process applies to all imports and exports from any of the 10 cities.

"The reform can be considered as a revolutionary change since the start of reform and opening-up in 1978, as it breaks down regional and administrative boundaries and helps form an integrated administrative mechanism and operations model. This greatly streamlines the customs process and cuts logistics costs," said Zang Yujiang, head of the Qingao customs office.

Customs offices across the 10 regions are now connected via the Internet, where they can share images and documents. With unified declarations, risk control, material reviews and processing platforms, the program is set to achieve integrated management and operations of all customs services. And companies can choose where their shipments will be inspected and cleared.

According to the Qingdao customs office, the reform covers about 90,000 companies registered in the 10 customs zones, and it will cut companies' logistics costs by 20 to 30 percent.

The Qingdao customs office also has a central emergency and coordination center to help the entire customs network respond to disruptions and urgent problems.

Sun Zhijie, head of the Urumqi customs office, said: "The new reform will promote opening to the outside world at a higher level and facilitate connections between China and other nations on the Silk Road."

Hot Topics

Editor's Picks