China announces acceptance of electronic documents for Customs clearance
As of 1 August 2018, Customs Authorities in the People’s Republic of China will accept electronic documents (eDocs) at the point of Customs declaration, ceasing to require paper documents as a strict prerequisite for clearance.
The news comes from a recent announcement by China’s General Administration of Customs, noting that the decision is intended “to further promote the convenience of foreign trade and improve the efficiency of customs clearance at ports.”
The General Administration mentions that “if the documents issued by the relevant competent authorities or agencies at home and abroad are used for online verification or internet access, only the document number or a scanned upload is required.” Customs clearance can therefore occur by referencing data from electronic documents originating from platforms such as CargoDocs DocEx and essCert.
The announcement adds that certain requirements will need to be met in order to legally accept eDocs for clearance, whereby “if network verification has not been implemented and the Internet cannot be queried, a scanned copy […] is required.”
Until recently, Chinese Customs required paper output of relevant trade documentation originating from online platforms (such as Bills of Lading, Commercial Invoices, Packing Lists, Certificates or Origin etc.). With the recent decision taking full effect, we anticipate a significant acceleration of eDocs uptake in China and expect major efficiency gains for our users involved in trades into and out of the Asian nation.