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Entry-exit Inspection and Quarantine System

Objects Subject to Entry-exit Inspection and Quarantine

Objects subject to entry-exit inspection and quarantine include goods, containers, transport vehicles and express mails in and out of China as well as persons entering and exiting the country and articles carried by them.

Customs Clearance for Goods Subject to Entry-exit Inspection and Quarantine

Consignors, consignees or agents of entry-exit goods that are subject to inspection and quarantine under existing laws and regulations should make declarations to the customs authorities. With Import Goods Clearance Slips or Export Goods Clearance Slips issued to them after the goods have passed the inspection and quarantine, they can proceed to complete customs clearance formalities. For import goods that have passed the inspection and quarantine (or those that have properly undergone effective treatment after failing the initial inspection and quarantine) for sale and use, they will be issued a Certificate of Inspection and Quarantine for Entry Goods. For goods failing the inspection and quarantine, the enterprise or party concerned will be issued a quarantine inspection report for claiming compensation from the foreign party. Goods that have to be returned or destroyed for the absence of effective treatment after failing the quarantine inspection will be issued a Notice of Inspection and Quarantine Treatment as the basis for the Customs authorities and the parties concerned to return or destroy the goods. For export goods that pass the inspection and quarantine, they will be issued an Export Goods Clearance Slip to be used by the customs authorities as the basis for the verification and release of the goods. In cases where foreign importers require inspection and quarantine certificates, such certificates will be issued upon application by the foreign trade party and satisfactory completion of inspection and quarantine. A Non-conformity Notice for Export Goods will be issued if the goods fail the inspection.

For import and export goods (including transit goods) listed in the Catalogue of Entry-exit Goods Subject to Inspection and Quarantine by Customs Authorities (the Catalogue), the Customs will examine and release the goods on the basis of the Import Goods Clearance Slip or Export Goods Clearance Slip.

Inspection and quarantine procedures normally include five steps: application/declaration for inspection, verification of documents, inspection and quarantine, inspection and quarantine treatment, and issuance of certificate for release of goods.

Prior to 2018, Customs and the inspection and quarantine authorities were in charge of customs clearance and inspection and quarantine procedures respectively. Today, a new system of “one declaration, one inspection and one release” through a “single window” is in force. “One declaration” refers to a single input of information for separate declarations where enterprises can enter the required information into both the customs system and the inspection and quarantine system through a unified user input interface. “One inspection” refers to the customs inspection and quarantine inspection conducted in accordance with law that require the container to be opened once only. Upon receipt of the declarations, Customs and quarantine authorities will agree on a time when the goods subject to inspection will be unpacked once, and enterprises are only required to show up once for the inspection by both authorities. “One release” refers to the joint release of goods upon customs/quarantine inspection where Customs and quarantine authorities will separately send their electronic release messages to the port service units for completing the goods delivery procedures with the enterprises concerned. Through this single-window process, customs clearance efficiency is substantially enhanced.

According to the State Council Institutional Reform Plan adopted at the first session of the 13th National People’s Congress, the supervisory authority of entry-exit inspection and quarantine will be transferred from the former General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ) to the General Administration of Customs (GAC). Upon implementation of the related institutional reform, the entry-exit commodity declaration procedures for quarantine inspection and customs clearance will be consolidated and streamlined, thereby greatly facilitating the completion of the required formalities.

Chart: Inspection and quarantine procedures
Chart: Inspection and quarantine procedures

Details of Entry-exit Inspection and Quarantine

(a)  Import and Export Commodity Inspection

  • Inspection appraisal procedures

    According to China’s Commodity Inspection Law, the appraisal procedures for import and export commodities include sampling, inspection and examination; appraisal, accreditation and certification; and registration, authentication and approval as appropriate.

  • Pre-shipment inspection for import wastes

    China practises a system of pre-shipment inspection for import of solid wastes that can be used as raw materials. In contracts concluded between consignors and consignees on the import of waste materials, it must be clearly stipulated that the waste materials to be imported measure up to China’s environmental protection standards and must undergo pre-shipment inspection by accredited inspection bodies. It is only upon satisfactory completion of the inspection can these waste materials be shipped.

  • Inspection of imported and exported hazardous chemicals and their packagings

    In China, the import and export of hazardous chemicals and their packagings are subject to inspection for compliance with safety, environmental protection and fraud prevention requirements, as well as the related quality, quantity and weight specifications.

    Packagings of hazardous chemicals to be imported are subject to inspection in respect of their forms, markings, categorisation, specifications, unit weight and conditions of use. Packagings of hazardous chemicals for export are subject to performance inspection and usage appraisal in accordance with the packaging requirements and standards for export of dangerous goods by sea, air, land and rail transport.

(b)  Animal and Plant Quarantine

  • Objects of quarantine

    The following must undergo animal and plant quarantine: animals and plants, animal and plant products and other quarantine objects entering or exiting China or in transit; containers, packagings and dunnage used for carrying animals and plants, animal and plant products and other quarantine objects; transport vehicles from animal and plant epidemic areas; old and disused vessels entering the country for salvage purposes; and other goods or articles subject to quarantine in accordance with the provisions of relevant laws, administrative regulations, international treaties or trade contracts.

  • Animals and plants prohibited from entry into China

    The following are prohibited from entering China: pathogenic micro-organisms (including seed cultures of bacteria and viruses) of animals and plants, pests and other harmful organisms; animals and plants, animal and plant products and other quarantine objects from countries or territories with outbreak of animal or plant epidemic; animal carcasses; and soil.

  • Entry quarantine

    China adopts an entry quarantine licensing system whereby the consignor or agent is required to make an application to the competent authorities in advance of the entry of animals, animal products, seeds, seedlings and other propagating materials, grains, fruits, tobacco and feeds, and complete the quarantine approval application formalities before concluding the trade contract or agreement with a foreign party. Application should be submitted by the consignor or agent to the local customs authorities at the port of entry prior to or upon arrival of the goods. Goods that fail to pass quarantine or require further quarantine measures will be decontaminated, returned or destroyed by the customs authorities as appropriate.

  • Exit quarantine

    Animals and plants, animal and plant products and other quarantine objects for export are subject to quarantine supervision in their production, processing and storage process. The consignor or agent should apply to the port-of-exit customs authorities for quarantine prior to the export of goods. Objects passing the quarantine or properly completing the decontamination treatment will be allowed to leave the country while those failing to pass the quarantine and without undergoing effective decontamination treatment will not.

  • Transit quarantine

    For the transit of animals and plants, animal and plant products and other quarantine objects (including transshipment), the shipper or supercargo should submit an application to the port-of-entry customs authorities for quarantine with the support of related documents. For the transit of animals, it is necessary to apply for a quarantine permit in advance.

  • Quarantine of objects carried or posted into China

    Animals and plants, animal and plant products and other quarantine objects carried or posted into China will be returned or destroyed if they are included in the List of Animals and Plants, Animal and Plant Products and Other Quarantine Objects Prohibited from Being Carried or Posted into China. Those not covered by the list will be released after passing the quarantine.

  • Quarantine of transport vehicles

    Customs authorities will carry out on-the-spot quarantine for transport vehicles from animal and plant epidemic areas. Vehicles carrying animals out of the country must be disinfected under the supervision of customs authorities before loading. Vehicles carrying animals and plants, animal and plant products and other quarantine objects (including animal vaccines, blood serum, fluid for diagnosis, and animal and plant wastes) must conform to the relevant epidemic prevention and quarantine regulations. For empty vehicles returning after carrying animal supplies to Hong Kong and Macau, the customs authorities require the entire vehicle to be disinfected for epidemic prevention.

(c)  Health Quarantine

  • Scope of health quarantine

    Customs authorities are responsible for conducting quarantine and monitoring of infectious diseases and undertaking health supervision at all harbours, airports, and all ports of land borders and river borders for international transit in China. All persons, transport vehicles, transport equipment, as well as luggage, goods and postal parcels which may spread quarantinable diseases entering or leaving China are subject to quarantine inspection, and only upon quarantine approval will they be allowed to enter or exit the country.

  • Quarantine of transport vehicles and persons entering or leaving China

    Transport vehicles and persons entering the country are subject to quarantine at their first port of arrival, and those leaving the country at the last port of departure. Customs authorities will issue an entry or exit quarantine certificate to persons not found with quarantinable diseases or to transport vehicles that have already undergone sanitation treatment.

  • Infectious disease monitoring of persons entering or leaving China

    Customs authorities may require persons upon arrival or departure to complete health declaration card and present vaccination/inoculation certificate for certain infectious disease, health certificate or other relevant documents. They may also isolate persons on entry or exit found to have contracted plague, cholera, yellow fever and other quarantinable diseases, detain for examination persons suspected to have contracted quarantinable diseases, and deny entry to foreigners with tuberculosis infection or other infectious diseases that may cause serious harm to public health. Persons found to have contracted any of the infectious diseases under surveillance, or foreigners coming from territories with the outbreak of such diseases or persons in close contact with such patients may be issued medical treatment cards, detained for examination or applied other preventive or control measures by the customs authorities as appropriate.

  • Sanitary supervision at frontier ports

    The sanitary conditions of frontier ports and transport vehicles staying at these ports for entry to or exit from the country are subject to sanitary supervision by the customs authorities in accordance with the sanitary standards required by the state. The authorities are responsible for supervising and giving instructions on the prevention and extermination of rodents and germ-carrying insects; inspecting and examining food, drinking water and facilities for their storage, supply and transportation; monitoring the health conditions of employees engaged in the supply of food and drinking water and checking their health certificates; monitoring and checking the disposal of garbage, waste matter, sewage, excrement and ballast water; and taking the necessary measures for sanitation treatment where sanitary conditions are poor or factors exist that may cause the spread of infectious diseases.

Quality Certification for Import and Export Commodities

(a)  Compulsory Certification

China implements a unified system of compulsory product certification with “China Compulsory Certification” (CCC or 3C) as its mark. It is the certification mark for products which are allowed to be imported into, sold or used in China.

(b)  Lists of products requiring CCC mark

Catalogues of products requiring the CCC mark have been drawn up and promulgated through public notice. Details are available at the Certification and Accreditation Administration (CNCA) website on compulsory product certification (http://www.cnca.gov.cn/ywzl/rz/qzxcpzl/).

(c)  In general, the application procedures for the CCC mark are as follows:

  1. Application for certification and acceptance of application;
  2. Type testing;
  3. Factory inspection;
  4. Sample testing;
  5. Evaluation of certification results and approval of certification; and
  6. Follow-up supervision.

Appraisal of Inspection

Apart from objects requiring inspection and quarantine by customs authorities under the provisions of existing laws and administrative rules, foreign trade parties, foreign organisations as well as law enforcement, judicial and arbitration departments may entrust or designate accredited inspection bodies to conduct inspection or appraisal of entry-exit goods and their packagings, transport vehicles and shipping technical conditions, and to issue the relevant certificates as valid documents for the handover of entry-exit goods, calculation of charges, customs clearance, computation and payment of duties, claims for compensation, and arbitration proceedings.

Administration for Certification of Origin (including Certificate of Origin and Declaration of Origin)

Entry-exit inspection and quarantine authorities are the official organ for the issuance of certificates of origin (including non-preferential certificates of origin and preferential certificates of origin), and the administration of declarations of origin made by enterprises. Under the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP), free trade area agreements and China’s Regulations on the Origin of Import and Export Goods, export enterprises may apply to the local entry-exit inspection and quarantine authorities for various certificates of origin or apply to become eligible for making self-declarations of origin.

Content provided by Picture: HKTDC Research
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