Cross-bor­der trade via e-com­merce ex­pands

China Daily European Weekly - - FRONT PAGE - By ZHONG NAN zhong­[email protected]­

China’s cross-bor­der trade in goods via e-com­merce plat­forms rose to 111.04 bil­lion yuan ($16.13 bil­lion; 14.1 bil­lion eu­ros; £12.6 bil­lion) in the first 10 months of 2018, as the coun­try con­tin­ues to raise an­nual trans­ac­tion vol­ume by in­di­vid­ual buy­ers who make pur­chases for per­sonal use, of­fi­cials said on Dec 7.

Through this fast-grow­ing sec­tor, the coun­try’s im­ports surged 86 per­cent year-on-year to reach 67.18 bil­lion yuan be­tween Jan­uary and Oc­to­ber, while ex­ports jumped by 173.9 per­cent year-on-year to 43.86 bil­lion yuan, ac­cord­ing to data from the Gen­eral Ad­min­is­tra­tion of Cus­toms.

“China will con­tinue to ad­just the prod­uct list and tax poli­cies for cross­bor­der e-com­merce re­tail im­ports,” said Li Cheng­gang, as­sis­tant com­merce min­is­ter.

He made the re­marks af­ter the coun­try re­leased a pol­icy on Nov 28 en­larg­ing the to­tal num­ber of tar­iff lines cov­ered in the goods list to 1,321 prod­ucts un­der 63 tar­iff cat­e­gories.

The prod­ucts in­volved in those 63 tar­iff cat­e­gories in­clude tex­tiles and cloth­ing, footwear, jew­elry, cer­tain food prod­ucts, small house­hold ap­pli­ances, sta­tionery, fit­ness equip­ment, wine, beer, tele­scopes, video game con­soles and ski boots.

As for trans­ac­tion vol­ume caps, the limit per trans­ac­tion has been lifted from 2,000 yuan to 5,000 yuan, while the an­nual cap has been lifted from 20,000 yuan to 26,000 yuan per per­son. These caps will be fur­ther lifted as in­di­vid­ual in­comes in­crease in the fu­ture, of­fi­cials said.

Li said that un­der the new rules, China will ex­tend the poli­cies cur- rently im­ple­mented in the ex­ist­ing 15 pi­lot cities to an­other 22 com­pre­hen­sive cross-bor­der e-com­merce pi­lot zones, in­clud­ing Bei­jing. The aim is to fur­ther im­prove re­gional dis­tri­bu­tion of e-com­merce de­vel­op­ment and bet­ter sat­isfy con­sumer de­mand.

“Un­like gen­eral trade, cross-bor­der e-com­merce re­tail im­ports mainly serve to pro­vide di­ver­si­fied and qual­ity prod­ucts to do­mes­tic con­sumers. The prod­ucts must be sold to con­sumers di­rectly and con­fined to per­sonal use,” said Wang Wei, di­rec­tor of the Depart­ment of Port Ad­min­is­tra­tion at the GAC.

On this ba­sis, the gov­ern­ment has said cross-bor­der e-com­merce re­tail im­ports should be reg­u­lated as en­try of ar­ti­cles for per­sonal use that are not sub­ject to re­quire­ments such as first-time im­port li­censes, reg­is­tra­tions or fil­ings for record.

Feng Jin­ping, di­rec­tor of the tar­iff depart­ment at the Min­istry of Fi­nance, said the lat­est pol­icy sets out spe­cific re­quire­ments for the re­spon­si­bil­i­ties that should be taken on by gov­ern­ment agen­cies, as well as cross-bor­der e-com­merce com­pa­nies, plat­forms and ser­vice providers within the sec­tor and con­sumers.

“Cross-bor­der e-com­merce com­pa­nies take the main re­spon­si­bil­ity for the qual­ity and safety of goods. Cross­bor­der e-com­merce plat­forms must reg­is­ter with the au­thor­i­ties to con­duct busi­ness ac­tiv­i­ties in China, and bear the re­spon­si­bil­ity for up-front com­pen­sa­tion,” Feng said.

With dif­fer­ent par­ties’ re­spon­si­bil­i­ties clearly de­fined, Feng said, su­per­vi­sion dur­ing and af­ter trans­ac­tions will be re­in­forced, qual­ity-re­lated risks will be bet­ter con­trolled and all en­ti­ties will have clear stan­dards to fol­low.

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