Cross-border E-com­merce Re­tail Im­port Im­prov­ing the Su­per­vi­sion for More Healthy De­vel­op­ment

China's Foreign Trade (English) - - Industrial Watch - By Lynn Yu

March 17, the spokesman of the Min­istry of Com­merce touched on the over­all ar­range­ments for reg­u­la­tions on cross-border re­tail im­ports af­ter the tran­si­tion pe­riod. He said that af­ter the ex­piry of tran­si­tional poli­cies, a new reg­u­la­tion ap­proach will come into force from Jan­uary 1, 2018. Ap­proved by the State Coun­cil, the reg­u­la­tion pol­icy on cross-border e-com­merce re­tail im­port will be sta­ble, and the re­tail im­ports through cross-border e-com­merce will be treated the same way as per­sonal be­long­ings.

The state­ment cov­ers four ma­jor points: firstly, it clar­i­fies that the cross­bor­der e-com­merce re­tail im­port will be treated as “per­sonal be­long­ings”; se­condly, the num­ber of ex­per­i­ment city will in­crease to 15 from 10; thirdly, the reg­u­la­tion ap­proach will be fur­ther im­proved to en­sure qual­ity se­cu­rity and risk con­trol; fourthly, the new pol­icy will come into ef­fect on Jan­uary 1, 2018 and will re­main ef­fec­tive for a long time.

Ac­cord­ing to China Cross-border E-com­merce Im­port In­dus­try Chain Map­ping pub­lished by 100 EC.CN, the cross-border e-com­merce im­port can be clas­si­fied into five cat­e­gories: di­rect de­liv­ery (such as Tmall,, Yma­tou,, self-op­er­ated B2C (such as Ama­zon,,,,, xi­ao­hong­, shop­ping guide/rebate (such as 55haitao. com,, cross-border O2O (such as Sun­ing, baoshuiguoji. com, yoohobox. xom), overseas pur­chas­ing (such as Taobao, us­

Cao Lei, Chi­nese net­work ex­pert and direc­tor of

The “per­sona l be­long ings reg­u­la­tion” is good news for cross­bor­der re­tail im­ports

The new pol­icy is­sued on April 8 has caused a whirl­wind within the in­dus­try. It is not be­cause of the ris­ing tax rate or the RMB 2,000 credit limit, but the def­i­ni­tion of cross-border im­port prod­ucts as “per­sonal be­long­ings” that grabbed the spot­light. Th­ese prod­ucts will be reg­u­lated the same way as nor­mally

The cross- border e-com­merce in­dus­try will un­dergo ex­plo­sive growth in the next few years.

traded prod­ucts and shall ap­ply for let­ter of clear­ance. So some trendy prod­ucts like cos­met­ics and health food, can­not pass through the cus­tom smoothly.

That the Min­istry of Com­merce has de­fined the cross-border re­tail im­port as “per­sonal be­long­ings” is a piece of good news as the re­tail im­port prod­ucts are no longer sub­ject to reg­u­la­tions im­posed on nor­mal trade. This also in­di­cates the it opens some space in the in­spec­tion and quar­an­tine for the cross-border re­tail im­port prod­ucts.

Time is still needed to ex­per­i­ment with cross- border e- com­merce reg­u­la­tions

Re­gard­ing cross-border e-com­merce re­tail im­port, its reg­u­la­tion model and mea­sures will be fur­ther im­proved, and the qual­ity con­trol and mon­i­tor­ing will be en­hanced. The govern­ment is re­flect­ing upon the reg­u­la­tion poli­cies on for­eign trade and pro­mot­ing in­no­va­tive reg­u­la­tions as e-com­merce has brought new changes to the global trade. Time is re­quired to pro­mote pi­lot ex­per­i­men­ta­tion to ac­cu­mu­late ex­pe­ri­ences and work out a reg­u­la­tion mech­a­nism that fits global trade de­vel­op­ment trend and cross-border e-com­merce fea­tures.

Zhu Qi­ucheng, re­searcher of 100EC.CN and gen­eral man­ager of Ningbo New Ori­ent Trade Com­pany:

Cross-border e-com­merce will em­brace bright fu­ture

The cross- border e- com­merce in­dus­try will un­dergo ex­plo­sive growth in the next few years. As Pre­mier Li Ke­qiang said, we shall meet the peo­ple’s con­tin­ued de­mands for qual­ity prod­ucts. To re­al­ize the de­vel­op­ment of cross­bor­der e- com­merce, the pol­icy shall al­ways come first. Be­sides, the in­dus­try is known for its busi­ness prac­tices and some prac­tices have been be­yond the range of cur­rent reg­u­la­tions. How to de­fine the cross-border im­ported prod­ucts is a very sig­nif­i­cant is­sue and now it has been in­cluded into “per­sonal be­long­ings”, show­ing the govern­ment sup­port to the cross-border e-com­merce in­dus­try.

At the be­gin­ning of 2016, the State Coun­cil an­nounced that a new im­port tar­iff pol­icy on cross-border e-com­merce re­tail prod­ucts would come into ef­fect on April 8. The per­sonal be­long­ings and nor­mal trade would be sep­a­rated by the dis­crep­ancy of prod­uct value. But it has been de­layed sev­eral times when it comes to real prac­tices. This in­di­cated that the govern­ment is ex­plor­ing and re­flect­ing the way to im­prove reg­u­la­tion poli­cies on for­eign trade.

Govern­ment Reg­u­la­tions and Guid­ance key to the Healthy In­dus­try De­vel­op­ment

Time is re­quired to pro­mote pi­lot ex­per­i­men­ta­tion to ac­cu­mu­late ex­pe­ri­ences and work out a reg­u­la­tion mech­a­nism that fits the global trade de­vel­op­ment trend and cross-border e-com­merce fea­tures. To in­crease of num­ber of pi­lot cities from 10 to 15 will be very sig­nif­i­cant to the in­dus­try de­vel­op­ment. The cross-border e-com­merce is try­ing to mud­dle through the growth pe­riod, and the govern­ment shall only ac­cu­mu­late more real ex­pe­ri­ence. It is be­lieved that more pi­lot cities will pro­vided ref­er­ence points for the govern­ment to re­fine reg­u­la­tion poli­cies.

It is im­por­tant to re­fine reg­u­la­tion poli­cies. The new pol­icy will come into ef­fect on Jan­uary 1, 2018 and it shows that the govern­ment is im­ple­ment­ing new reg­u­la­tion mod­els to pro­mote the de­vel­op­ment of the cross-border e- com­merce in­dus­try. The healthy de­vel­op­ment of the in­dus­try would be im­pos­si­ble with­out the im­proved reg­u­la­tions and guid­ance from the govern­ment.

The Chi­nese govern­ment is be­com­ing in­creas­ingly smart in mak­ing poli­cies. It of­fers the cross- border e-com­merce space of de­vel­op­ment and also ex­plores more fea­si­ble reg­u­la­tion mod­els through deep prac­tices. This will pro­mote the in­dus­try growth and re­fine in­dus­try man­age­ment.

Li Pengbo, com­men­ta­tor of 100EC.CN and part­ner of Tom­top

The new pol­icy on cross-border e- com­merce re­tail im­port has been loos­ened, but within a lim­ited range. The cross-border e- com­merce re­tail im­port is a trade model be­tween nor­mal trade and par­cel post clear­ance. It is known that the de­lay of is­suance of clear­ance let­ter shows that the govern­ment is sway­ing be­tween the choice of nor­mal trade and per­sonal be­long­ings to clas­sify the cross-border e-com­merce im­ported prod­ucts. The state­ment by the Min­istry of Com­merce has con­firmed the per­sonal be­long­ings as the cat­e­gory and ob­vi­ously its reg­u­la­tion is rel­a­tively loose.

But the Min­istry of Com­merce also called it “ex­pe­di­ent reg­u­la­tions” and fur­ther ad­just­ment may fol­low ac­cord­ing to real cir­cum­stances. For

ex­am­ple, if the im­port vol­ume by cross­bor­der e-com­merce be­comes too huge to con­trol, pol­icy ad­just­ment would be­come in­evitable. So the govern­ment has left enough space for pol­icy plan­ning.

Lin Zhiy­ong, re­searcher of 100EC.CN and deputy direc­tor of Asia-pa­cific E-com­merce Re­search In­sti­tute

The main­te­nance of cur­rent reg­u­la­tion pol­icy is for pol­icy sta­bi­liza­tion, not for pol­icy loos­en­ing. The Min­is­ter of Com­merce spokesman did not mean to loosen the reg­u­la­tions. Al­though he re- em­pha­sized that the cross-border e- com­merce re­tail im­port prod­ucts be­long to per­sonal be­long­ings, he did not men­tion any in­tended changes of the reg­u­la­tion poli­cies re­lated to bonded and di­rect de­liv­ery. It will con­tinue the pol­icy reg­u­la­tions is­sued on April 8. The pur­pose of mak­ing the state­ment is to main­tain the cur­rent reg­u­la­tions for pol­icy con­ti­nu­ity and sta­bi­liza­tion. The govern­ment is still watch­ing and nur­tur­ing the cross­bor­der e-com­merce re­tail im­port, and will re­fine the emer­gency alarm sys­tem and stan­dard reg­u­la­tion, and pro­mote pol­icy in­no­va­tion.

Liu Jun­bin, re­searcher of 100EC. CN and direc­tor of the School of Busi­ness of Hainan Col­lege of Vo­ca­tion and Tech­nique:

“Per­sonal be­long­ings” is an in­no­va­tive model that will stim­u­lates the de­vel­op­ment of overseas pur­chase. China has be­gun to at­tach great im­por­tance to re­tail im­port. It will in­crease the im­port of for­eign qual­ity prod­ucts, pro­vide bet­ter ser­vices for do­mes­tic con­sumers and help pro­mote the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the “Belt and Road” strat­egy. The ex­change of needed goods is key to the sus­tain­abil­ity of bi­lat­eral trade. The new pol­icy is sure to be con­ve­nient, ef­fi­cient and pro­tect rights of con­sumers.

This new model of im­port will en­large overseas pur­chase vol­ume and en­sure reg­u­lated busi­ness op­er­a­tions. New O2O ex­pe­ri­ences and sales of cross-border im­port prod­ucts will be cre­ated in he 15 pi­lot cities, which will im­prove lo­cal peo­ple’s liveli­hood and pro­pel do­mes­tic com­pa­nies to en­hance prod­uct qual­ity and brands.

Xiao Feng: re­searcher of 100EC. CN and VP of Alibaba One touch

New cross-border re­tail pol­icy comes into force

To treat cross- border im­port prod­ucts as “per­sonal be­long­ings” is a pref­er­en­tial pol­icy that al­lows proper overseas pur­chase through the net­work. The key is that im­porters would re­frain from pro­vid­ing a let­ter of cus­tom clear­ance. It is es­ti­mated that the quota and tar­iff will not go back to the level be­fore April 8. There are 12 pi­lot ex­per­i­ment zones and the govern­ment is tak­ing a lais­sez-faire ap­proach to the in­dus­try de­vel­op­ment.

En­hance the re­spon­si­bil­i­ties of e-com­merce com­pa­nies: the e-com­merce plat­form and sell­ers shall shoul­der the re­spon­si­bil­i­ties and con­sumers have no re­spon­si­bil­i­ties. One of the re­spon­si­bil­i­ties shall be avoid­ance of re­peated sales, be­cause if it is re­peated sales, the cer­tifi­cates of VAT and in­come tax shall be pro­vided. Re­spon­si­bil­i­ties about qual­ity, safety and risk con­trol, es­pe­cially the qual­ity in­ci­dence, fraud and il­le­gal sales will be­come more se­vere.

In a nut­shell, the govern­ment pol­icy shall be con­tin­ued and is se­ri­ous. Even if there is a big is­sue to solve, the pol­icy shall be sta­ble. But the en­ter­prises shall not over­act with­out get­ting a clear pic­ture of the is­sue, oth­er­wise there will be big losses be­cause of poor judg­ment.

Trade is still main part of cross­bor­der e-com­merce

The cross- border re­tail is still fledg­ling, and the cross-border trade is still main part of cross- border e-com­merce prac­tice. The lo­cal­iza­tion of cross-border re­tail is sure to be a big trend. This is not only about Chi­nese poli­cies on cross-border trade, but a global is­sue. WCO ( World Cus­tom Or­ga­ni­za­tion) is study­ing low-value trade chan­nels (tak­ing cross-border re­tail as low-value trade, to work out a bal­anced so­lu­tion. How­ever, how to pro­mote the “sin­gle-win­dow” model that com­bines govern­ment and mar­ket, the nor­mal trade and net­work will be a ques­tion. Whether small and medi­um­sized en­ter­prises could ben­e­fit from glob­al­iza­tion is another im­por­tant is­sue that needs con­certed ef­forts by China and global coun­tries to solve.

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