Customs in China

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Customs Procedures

Import Procedures
To reduce customs clearance time, certain companies can, in cases where description, specifications and quantity of import of goods are determined, declare to the customs in advance and present the documents after the imports are dispatched or before the arrival or in the 3 days which follow the arrival of the goods in a customs surveillance zone. The Customs will examine the goods directly and will release the goods after their arrival.
The declaration can be done via the customs site, by indicating the place of arrival of the goods, as well as all the customs data. Once the data is analyzed by the customs, a receipt will be sent, so that the company can complete the cargo of the goods. Custom duties is then paid by bank transfer.
Documents to be presented to customs vary according to the products. However there are standard documents to be presented: the bill of lading, the invoice, the packing list, the customs declaration, the insurance policy, the sale contract or the inspection certificate of the AQSIQ (General Administration of the PRC for Quality Supervision, Inspection, and Quarantine) or other licenses of safety and quality.
Specific Import Procedures
Food processing products require an examination by the department of health
Importing Samples
Samples imported or exported must be declared at the customs (free or not). The customs examines and releases them.

Customs Duties and Taxes on Imports

Average Customs Duty (Excluding Agricultural Products)
8.37% according to UNCTAD. A relatively low rate.
Consult customs duties of various products by clicking here.
Products Having a Higher Customs Tariff
Duties vary from 3% to 80% depending upon whether imports are encouraged or not (import of automobiles is for example discouraged) by the authorities.
Preferential Rates
Granted to imports coming from countries with which China has signed trade agreements.
Customs Classification
China applies the Customs Harmonised system (on the basis of the international 6 figure key). 
Method of Calculation of Duties
Customs duties are calculated Ad valorem on the CIF value representated an average of 15.3%. Besides that, it seems that Chinese Authorities use more and more often minimum prices as references to determine the customs value of the goods.
Method of Payment of Customs Duties
Paid by the importer while importing the merchandise.
Payment in cash.
Import Taxes (Excluding Consumer Taxes)
Business Tax (BT): 3% or 5% on services and transfers of intangible goods and real estate property. If you pay BT, you do not pay VAT, on the other hand, consumption tax is added systematically to one or the other tax. Moreover, contrarily to practise, these taxes cannot be recovered. Hence they are final charges.

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