BDO Indirect Tax News

China - New customs law adopted 

A new customs law adopted by China’s national congress on 26 April— the Tariff Law of the People’s Republic of China—consolidates various measures, policies and announcements and makes some important changes to the import and export tariff rules. The law takes effect on 1 December 2024. 

The main changes included in the new customs law are as follows: 

  • For e-commerce businesses, platform operators, logistics companies and customs declaration companies engaged in retail imports are required to act as tariff withholding agents for purposes of customs duties and customs declarations. 

  • Goods obtained entirely from one country/region will be deemed to originate in that country/region. Goods from more than one country/region will be deemed to originate in the country/region where the most recent substantial changes were made. 

  • The statute of limitations period for the customs authority to challenge the tax paid is three years from the date the goods are imported into China or the date the duties were paid.  

BDO insights 

The new customs law identifies the agent responsible for paying customs duties in e-commerce transactions, which likely means that Chinese customs will be focusing on companies engaged in e-commerce retail transactions. Compared with the current tariff rules, the clearer definition of the country of origin enables Chinese companies to better understand which customs duty rate to use as the rate will depend on the type of good and the country of origin. The extension of the statute of limitations period grants the customs authority more scope to conduct customs audits.  

Companies that are affected by any of the changes may wish to obtain professional advice to assist with compliance and should take steps to determine the correct duty rate and customs treatment to minimize customs risks and potential penalties.  

Gordon Gao 
Jack Shen 
BDO in China

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