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Enquiry: How is it Possible to Ensure that Consignments Routed to the Mainland via Hong Kong Enjoy the Preferential Tariffs Specified under the Relevant Free Trade Agreements?

Photo: Consignments routed to the mainland via Hong Kong
Photo: Consignments routed to the mainland via Hong Kong

Over recent years, China has been extremely proactive with regards to establishing Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) with a variety of different countries and regions. Under the terms of these agreements, it is clear that any consignments routed through a third party nation/territory can also be regarded as direct consignments from the relevant FTA signatory and can qualify for the appropriate tariff reduction in certain circumstances. This is particularly the case should the goods remain under the control of Customs or other designated authorities while in any third party location.

Hong Kong’s Customs and Excise Department (C&ED) has launched the Free Trade Agreement Transshipment Facilitation Scheme (FTA Scheme).This has been designed to provide traders with a demonstrable customs supervision service and to issue a Certificate of Non-manipulation with regard to any transshipped cargoes that have not been subject to any further processing during their passage through Hong Kong.

In order to take advantage of the FTA Scheme, applications should be submitted to the C&ED at least one calendar day prior to the arrival of the consignment. This should be in the form of a completed application, along with copies of all of the relevant supporting documentation (see below), all of which can be submitted via email. Based on the mode of transportation employed and the processing required, the C&ED will then calculate the required fee and issue a General Demand Note to that effect. Once the fee has been paid, the C&ED will then process the application, providing all due supervision services where applicable. It will then issue the Certificate of Non-manipulation (hard copy or electronic version as required).

The following supporting documents are required for the processing of each FTA application:

  • The applicant’s Hong Kong Business Registration Certificate
  • The through bill of lading for the cargo in question
  • The Certificate of Origin for the cargo in question
  • The packing list (only applicable with regard to bulk cargo or in instances where said cargo needs to be consolidated/repackaged)
  • The cargo owner’s authorisation letter (if applicable)

As of 10 July this year, in cases where the consignee of imported goods has electronically submitted the Certificate of Non-manipulation to the General Administration of Customs (GAC) of China and the information is found to be in accord with the import declaration, the importer is no longer required to submit the original Certificate of Non-manipulation.

For further information, please refer to the following:

Hong Kong Customs: Free Trade Agreement Transshipment Facilitation Scheme (FTA Scheme)

Origin Requirements Simplified for Imports Transited Via Hong Kong and Macau

Content provided by Picture: HKTDC Research