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China: introduction of new e-Commerce rules further postponed until end of 2017

Trade Advice

As approved by the State Council, as of 11 May 2016, the cross-border e-commerce retail import supervision period would have a one-year transition period. During the transition period, "bonded imports" entering the bonded zones in the ten cities including Tianjin, Shanghai, Hangzhou, Ningbo, Zhengzhou, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Chongqing, Fuzhou, and Pingtan are exempted from checks of their Customs Clearance Certificates; import permits, registration or filing are not required for first-time imported cosmetics, baby formula, medical equipment and special food products (including health food products and food for special medical purposes); and import permit, registration or filing requirements are exempted for direct purchase imports.

Since its implementation, the transition period has played an important role in guiding companies to proactively adjust to standard supervisory requirements and in promoting innovative supervisory services in local governments, and cross-border e-commerce retail imports have been developing smoothly. Meanwhile, relevant government departments have been working on the optimisation of supervision from the perspectives of promoting a sound development of the industry, and consumer interests, safety, and health. As agreed by relevant departments, to ensure a smooth transition of supervision models on cross-border e-commerce retail import, the abovementioned transition period will be further extended to the end of 2017.

During this period, to be adequately prepared for the transition, relevant companies should be more self-disciplined, strengthen product quality and safety risk control, adjust to standard supervisory requirements quickly, and work together with each other to create a healthy environment for cross-border e-commerce retail imports.