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China reforms customs declaration system
Updated: 2005-06-10 13:50

From July 1, 2005, aircraft passengers going through Chinese customs will need to fill in paper forms for entry-exit declaration, the General Administration of Customs (GAC) announced on Thursday.

The new measure aims to safeguard the security of passengers as well as prevent goods threatening China's political, economic and physical security from entering the country, the GAC said.

In the 1990s, China stopped asking most passengers traveling across borders to submit paper forms on declaration. In recent years, however, as international terrorist activities have become more frequent, some criminals have smuggled weapons and drugs to China through customs, doing harm to China's politics,economy and culture and threatening the social stability and people's security, said sources with the GAC.

"It is extremely necessary to reform the declaration system for passengers and strengthen customs' supervision," the GAC said.

Currently many developed countries, including the United States and Australia as well as developing countries including Brazil and India, all ask entry-exit passengers to submit paper forms for customs declaration.

After the September 11 terrorist attacks, the United States and some other western countries took stricter measures on customs declaration and enhanced supervision over passengers.

In the future, those entry-exit passengers traveling on land or by sea will also have to fill in paper forms for customs declaration if the experimental reform on aircraft passengers is successful, the GAC said.

Every year about 50 million people travel across China's borders by air, accounting for one sixth of the total entry-exit number.

It is simple for passengers to fill in new declaration forms, which are available in customs inspection spots, airline companies and travel agencies, according to the GAC.

The on-paper declaration process will not prolong the time of passing through customs, the GAC promised.

Previously those passengers bringing animals or plants had to declare their goods to both Chinese customs and departments on quality supervision, inspection and quarantine, but now after the reform, they only need to declare animals and plants to customs, according to the GAC.

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