Speeches and Presentations



Agreement reached on details of facilitation measures for wine exported from Hong Kong to Mainland

The Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Mrs Rita Lau, met the Vice Minister of the General Administration of Customs, Mr Lü Bin, in Beijing today (November 23) to discuss details of the facilitation measures for wine exported from Hong Kong to the Mainland, including agreement signing and implementation arrangements.

Both sides also exchanged views on measures to promote the restructuring of the processing trade and to assist Hong Kong-owned enterprises to engage in domestic sales on the Mainland.

The Financial Secretary announced early this month that Hong Kong had reached consensus with the Mainland Customs to provide facilitation measures for wine exported from Hong Kong to the Mainland. Mrs Lau and the General Administration of Customs agreed on the details of the facilitation measures today.

According to the agreement reached by the two sides, the General Administration of Customs will provide two facilitation measures for wine exported from Hong Kong to the Mainland:

(a) Pre-valuation of wine: Importers who have registered with the Mainland Customs may request the latter to carry out pre-valuation of wine duty 10 working days before a wine shipment is exported from Hong Kong to the Mainland. When the shipment arrives at a Mainland boundary point, the valuation unit of the Mainland Customs will normally complete the procedure within one working day; and

(b) Compressing the clearance time at Mainland ports: For registered importers who have not chosen to carry out pre-valuation of wine duty, the Mainland Customs would strive to shorten the clearance time at Mainland boundary points. For wines which have been imported into the Mainland before, with submission of all the necessary documents and no irregularities identified after inspection, the clearance procedures will normally take no more than three working days. For wines which are new to the Mainland market, the valuation procedures will usually be completed within seven working days. If the customs clearance cannot be completed in time, the goods can still be released with a guarantee deposit.

These facilitation measures will first be implemented as a pilot in Shenzhen. Subject to development, it may be extended to other major Mainland boundary points. Both sides will work towards the target of implementing the measures early next year.

Welcoming the agreement, Mrs Lau said it would enhance co-operation between the two customs authorities on wine matters.

"The facilitation measures seek to increase transparency and certainty for Hong Kong's wine traders to better tap the business opportunities arising from increasing demand for wine on the Mainland. This will also help strengthen Hong Kong's position as the wine trading and distribution hub in the region," Mrs Lau said.

"The measures will also provide incentives for Hong Kong's wine traders (particularly the smaller ones and/or those handling boutique wines) to export a greater variety of wines into the Mainland, thus providing more choice to the consumers there."

Mrs Lau also thanked the General Administration of Customs for launching various policies to promote the restructuring of enterprises engaged in contract processing and to assist Hong Kong-owned enterprises to tap the Mainland domestic market. They include "restructuring without stopping production, carrying forward without appraising the value" and "single tax return for multiple domestic sales". Mrs Lau said that the measures are useful to the trade.

Monday, November 23, 2009