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Customs authorities easing free flow of trade

By ZHENG CAIXIONG in Guangzhou | | Updated: 2021-04-20 15:18
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Containers are unloaded from a ship at a port of Qingdao, East China's Shandong province, on Feb 17, 2020. [Photo/Xinhua]

Guangzhou Customs said it has reduced tariffs by more than 820 million yuan ($126.15 million) on imports from members of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) in the first quarter.

The figure represented a year-on-year growth of 27.5 percent, a statement released on Monday by customs officials said.

Meanwhile the customs authorities in Guangzhou issued more than 50,000 free trade agreement certificates of origin for goods exported to RCEP member countries, involving 11.75 billion yuan, from January to March, up respectively year-on-year by 58 percent and 46 percent.

"That has helped local foreign companies gain 790 million yuan in tariff preferences from RCEP member states in the first three months," the statement said.

Zheng Yuexing, an executive from Foshan Yohe Helmets Manufacturing Co, said, "With the certificates of origin, our products can enjoy the tariff concession in ASEAN, helping reduce the production costs and increase the price advantage."

With the China-ASEAN certificates of origin, the company has received tariff preferences of more than 1.4 million yuan between January and March, Zheng said.

According to the customs statement, certificates of origin are needed for companies to get tariff preferences. The General Administration of Customs has simplified procedures for companies involved in foreign trade to apply for the certificates of origin, allowing them to apply for and obtain the certificates online 24 hours a day.

A local business executive surnamed Huang said it took only minutes for her to obtain a certificate of origin, as she can complete the application, audit and related procedures online and print it in her office.

The landmark RCEP agreement signed last year is the largest free trade agreement in the world. The population, economic scale and total trade volume of member states under the RCEP account for about 30 percent the global total.

China, a RCEP country, has signed bilateral FTAs with ASEAN, the Republic of Korea, Australia, Singapore and New Zealand.

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