Business / View

Trans-regional customs co-op promotes Belt and Road Initiative

(Xinhua) Updated: 2015-05-28 17:40

XI'AN - A foreign trader in China has to be persistent to obtain necessary papers, permits and clearances in order to import or export goods. With multiple government agencies all in different locations needing to stamp their approval, the process has long been reserved only for the most patient.

But with a single-window system to be implemented in coastal ports by the end of this year, and the whole country in 2017, cross-border traders will only need to submit their documents once before they can move cargoes across China.

At a forum for heads of customs administration along the Belt and Road that closed on Thursday in northwestern Xi'an city, China's customs authorities have disclosed a set of policies aimed at strengthening trans-regional customs cooperation.

The 16-point policy pledges to give priority to port projects along the Belt and Road regions, further open up customs services in inland areas, improve the customs management system to support logistics construction along the route, and develop cooperation with customs authorities in other countries to stimulate trade growth and regional prosperity.

Customs commissioners from China, Russia, Belarus, Turkey and other Eurasian countries, as well as seniors officials representing the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and the International Road Transport Union participated in the two-day forum.

Liu Ping, senior representative of China's General Administration of Customs, said clearance efficiency and facilitation level are the key factors in realizing connectivity along the Belt and Road.

"Internally, China needs to speed up the implementation of single-window system and boost trans-department and cross-regional cooperation. Externally, an enhanced customs cooperation among the Belt and Road countries will further promote international trade," Liu said.

The Belt and Road Initiative refers to the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road plans proposed by China in 2013 for improved cooperation with countries in a vast part of Asia, Europe and Africa.

The Chinese government published an action plan specifying the principles, framework, priorities and mechanisms for the initiative in March. A $40 billion Silk Road Fund, designed to finance the Belt and Road, has also been launched.

A series of actions on the part of China's customs authorities have also been announced at the forum. Shanghai Customs College has set up a specific base to train customs officers from the Belt and Road countries. An information sharing platform aimed at fighting drugs and smuggling of weapons and endangered animals is also under construction.

Xinjiang's Karasu Customs, China's only land port open to Tajikistan and an important post along the planned China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, officially opened on May 8 after ten years of preparation.

A comprehensive bonded zone became operational in Kashgar last month, featuring bonded warehousing, logistics and manufacturing as well as an efficient customs clearance procedure.

Hot Topics

Editor's Picks