China to upgrade comprehensive bonded zones into new platforms of high-standard opening-up

China will introduce measures to upgrade its comprehensive bonded zones in line with advanced international standards to promote trade and investment facilitation, sustain steady growth in foreign trade and investment, and nurture new competitive advantages, the State Council's executive meeting chaired by Premier Li Keqiang decided on Wednesday.

The Chinese government places high importance on the development of the comprehensive bonded zones and other forms of special customs supervision areas.

Premier Li Keqiang repeatedly called for efforts to expand and upgrade opening-up, substantively enhance trade facilitation and improve the business climate for overseas investors.

In the first three quarters of 2018, the imports and exports in China's special customs supervision areas, comprehensive bonded zones included, reached 3.668 trillion yuan (535 billion U.S. dollars), up by 11.8 percent year-on-year and accounting for 16.5 percent of the country's total foreign trade in the same period.

These special areas have also attracted investment from many leading global manufacturers and created over two million jobs.

"The comprehensive bonded zones have served as a window in China's opening-up. Their special and important role in sustaining the steady growth of foreign trade and investment must be fully harnessed. We should also encourage these zones to actively expand the domestic market," Li said.

The Wednesday meeting decided on a number of supportive measures for these zones.

More efforts will be made to facilitate the domestic sales by companies in the zones.

The general taxpayer status of VAT will be piloted in the comprehensive bonded zones. Processing and manufacturing companies in the zones will be permitted to undertake outsourced processing businesses from outside the zones of the mainland market.

No application for the automatic import license will be required for the selling of products made in the zones, such as cell phones and auto parts, on the domestic market.

Meanwhile, research and development (R&D), and innovation will be spurred. All goods and items that companies in the zones import for R&D purposes will be exempted from import licensing, except for those prohibited for border entry.

The bonded and other policies will be employed in a holistic way to support the R&D and innovation institutions in the zones. Newly established R&D and processing companies in the zones, once evaluated as having met relevant standards, will immediately be granted the highest credit rating.

Logistics will also be facilitated. In the course of corporate production and operation, any eligible item entering the comprehensive bonded zones and the bonded goods in transfer from one zone to another will be exempted from customs clearance procedures. The comprehensive bonded zones in ports that allow whole-vehicle import will be permitted to undertake bonded storage, display and other businesses.

New forms of business will be developed. Companies in the zones will be allowed to undertake high-tech, high-value-added bonded test, global maintenance and re-manufacturing businesses that meet environmental requirements.

International services outsourcing will be supported to boost cross-border trade in services. The policies for retail imports under cross-border e-commerce will be fully adopted in the comprehensive bonded zones in due course. Qualified comprehensive bonded zones will receive support to conduct bonded futures delivery.

The comprehensive bonded zones will be supported in taking the lead in applying the experience gained in the pilot free trade zones to realize the integrated upgrading of all special customs supervision areas.

Editor: 曹家宁
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