Cross-border E-commerce Retail Import Improving the Supervision for More Healthy Development
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, Jd.com, Ymatou, Jumei.com), self-operated B2C (such as Amazon, fengqu.com, mia.com, vip.com, kaola.com, xiaohongshu.com, shopping guide/rebate (such as 55haitao. com, smzdm.com), cross-border O2O (such as Suning, baoshuiguoji. com, yoohobox. xom), overseas purchasing (such as Taobao, usashopcn.com).
Cao Lei, Chinese network expert and director of 100ec.cn:
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.