The 29th Olympics and the 13th Paralympics are slated for 2008 in Beijing. China Customs will facilitate, to the largest extent possible, the clearance of inward and outward passengers and materials during the Games and in its preparation stage in accordance with the overall arrangement made by the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and the State Council while borrowing the successful experience and practices of other Customs administrations.
I. Major Measures by the General Administration of China Customs in Support of the 29th Olympics
A. Pushing for Customs e-governance to facilitate on-line adminstrative examination and approval
With the E-Port system, Olympic materials can go through the examination and approval formalities on line, which will be simplified to raise clearance efficiency. We will roll-out “on-line payment” to simplify the operational process for paying duties, taxes and related fees. Our portal website will also help us go public with our work and do our jobs on line.
B. Allocating dedicated facilities, windows or desks, and passages
a. Dedicated Customs facilities
Every customshouse will allocate facilities for the purpose of Olympic materials only, and send teams there or to relevant competition venues to go about Customs procedures.
b. Dedicated windows or desks
Related operational-level Customs facilities will set up dedicated windows or desks to take care of the processing of declaration documents, tax exemptions and reductions and cargo supervison formalities in relation to Olympic materials. Priority will be given to the clearance of Olympic materials, and whenever they arrive at ports, there will be officers for them to go through the Customs procedures.
c. Dedicated passages
At the 5 airports (Beijing Capital International Airport, Qingdao Liuting International Airport, Shanghai Pudong International Airport, Shenyang Taoxian International Airport and Guangzhou Baiyun Airport), the 3 land passes (Beijing, Shenzhen, Guangzhou) and the 4 seaports (Shanghai ,Tianjin, Dalian and Qingdao), Olympic passages will be set up at the operational-level passenger-processing Customs facilities to facilitate the clearance of IOC officials, foreign athletes, other members of the Olympic family and their personal belongings.
C. Providing omni-directional services to accelerate the examination and release of Olympic materials
a. 24-hour services
To ensure that import Olympic materials are cleared straightway, especially those for competition venues and key projects, we will provide 24-hour non-stop services for the clearance of emergency Olympic materials. Dedicated officers will be assigned to process Olympic materials which must go through import formalities immediately, prioritizing them over other cargo, so that they can be cleared in time.
b. Pre-declaration and release upon arrival
The consigners, consignees or Customs brokers of imports for the Olympics may declare to Customs in advance with the information they have got from the bills of lading, waybills, cargo inventories or manifests examined and accepted by Customs. Thus, the goods will be released upon arrival if everything matches.
c. Appointment clearance services
The consigners, consignees or Customs brokers of imports for the Olympics may make appointments with Customs during our office hours, asking Customs to process their goods during non-office hours, including holidays and weekends.
d. Pre-classification and Pre-valuation
Before declaring imports for the Olympics to Customs, declarers may apply to Customs to determine in advance the classification, dutiable price or place of origin of the imports. Customs will provide maximum clearance facilitation for enterprises and parties relevant to the Olympics.
D. Courteous treatment for relevant personages
a. Olympic and government officials holding diplomatic or courteous visas will be cleared through the “Diplomatic and Courteous Passage” and exempt from Customs examinations.
b. For visiting heads of state, heads of government and heads of party, exemption from Customs examinations will be granted, with the notification from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China, to the personal belongings of their delegations and retinues, to the planes and vehicles their delegations take, including chartered civil aviation planes, and to the articles used on the planes and vehicles.
E. Extending the time allowed for temporary admission and simplifying the examination and approval procedures thereof
Olympic materials temporarily admitted may, with the approval of regional Customs, be re-exported within one year after the first entry. Under extraordinary circumstances, the time allowed for temporary admission may, with the consent of Customs, be extended again, but the materials must be re-exported before March 2009.
F. Bonded release of materials enjoying tax exemption and reduction
For import materials to enjoy tax exemption and reduction under the umbrella of preferential tax policies for the Olympics that arrive at ports before the issuance of related tax exemption and reduction lists and other specific implementation measures, with the letter of proof by the Logistics Department of Beijing Organizing Committee for the Games of the XXIX Olympiad (hereinafter referred to as BOCOG) and a bond equivalent to the sum of the tax payable by the importer or a letter of bond issued by banks, China Customs will release them first and go about the procedures of tax collection and exemption later according to relevant regulations.
G. Granting BOCOG the qualification as import entity
Beijing Customs allows BOCOG to register as “temporary declarer” and gives it a fixed long-term temporary registration code so that BOCOG can go about the import procedures for Olympic materials while Customs supervision is exercised.
H. Enhancing Customs protection of Olympic intellectual property rights
We will take multi-faceted measures to intensify Olympic IPR protection in import and export in strict accordance with Regulations on the Protection of Olympic Symbols. For example, we will conduct extensive education and publicity concerning Customs laws, regulations and policies on IPR border protection to raise enterprises’ awareness. In respect of combating the entry and exit of infringing goods, we will constantly step up our efforts to fight such infringements emerging from goods, passengers’ luggage as well as postal articles. Measures will be taken to stengthen the monitoring over the clearance node so as to ensure that IPRs are effectively protected at ports and the legitimate rights and interests of rightholders are well safeguarded.
I. Disposing of smuggling and violation cases appropriately according to law to purify the clearance environment
To ensure the economic security and social stability of the capital, China Customs resolutely fights smuggling crimes or violations committed under the name of the Olympics. Based on the principle of “legal and efficient”, we will simplify relevant penalty procedures to raise the efficiency of investigation and disposal of cases at the operational level, thus securing smooth clearance of Olympic materials and people.
J. Establishing emergency mechanism to ensure that the Olympics Games go smoothly
a. Organizational guarantee
We will set up a steering board on Olympic Customs clearance as well as a cross-department group to coordinate matters of approval, Customs supervision, examination and release related to the entry and exit of Olympic materials and people.
b. Fast reaction mechanism
Different departments of Customs will set up the mechanism of hotline contact so that when emergency comes in the processing of inward and outward passengers, mails, express consignments and cargo, special teams will pop up immediately to implement our emergency plans to ensure port safety by efficient disposal.
c. Enhancing security
We will make more strenuous efforts to fight such contrabands as weapons, ammunitions and biological and chemical hazardous materials. Vigilance will be enhanced against behaviour constituting a threat to the national political and economic security to prevent terrorists from smuggling contrabands sneakingly through our passenger, cargo, mail and express consignment checks.
II. Work Already Done in Support of the Olympic Games
A. The General Administration of China Customs has formulated the Notice on Clearance of Materials for Beijing Olympics, which provides operable guidance, and decided that the notice is also applicable to test events, torch relay and related cultural programmes. The notice gives special provisions on the issue of bond for temporarily admitted Olympic materials. With the detailed lists of materials to enter China for the Olympics provided by BOCOG and letters of bond issued by banks, China Customs will put the materials under the procedures of temporarily admitted goods when processing them, and their consignors and consignees needn’t put in any bond to Customs.
B. Upon the approval of the preferential tax policies for the 29th Olympics by the State Council, the General Administration of China Customs, together with the Ministry of Finance and the State Taxation Administration, issued immediately the tripartite Notice on Tax Policies for the 29th Olympics, which specified the various tax policies for the Olympics including those preferential ones on import tax.
C. For the implementation of the preferential tax policies approved by the State Council, the General Administration of China Customs has cooperated actively with other departments including the Ministry of Finance in verifying the lists of import materials for the construction of competition venues that should enjoy tax exemption and reduction under the umbrella of preferential tax policies for the Olympics. Currently we have finished the verification of the list of import equipment for the construction of Beijing Shooting Gallery that should enjoy tax exemption. We will offer even greater support for the verification of lists of other items that should enjoy tax exemption and reduction, and do our best to finish the verification the soonest possible.
D. For import materials to enjoy tax exemption and reduction under the umbrella of preferential tax policies for the Olympics that arrived at ports before the issuance of related tax exemption and reduction lists and other specific implementation measures, with the letter of proof by BOCOG and a bond equivalent to the sum of the tax payable by the importer or a letter of bond issued by banks, China Customs released them first and went about the procedures of tax collection and exemption later according to relevant regulations.
E. We have been coordinating actively with relevant departments of the State Council on the expansion of the applicability of tax policies for the Olympics to the Paralympics while participating in the research on this issue.