Discusses requirements for products entering the country/economy temporarily. including information on warranty and non-warranty items entering the country/economy for repair.
Last Published: 7/25/2017

Trade Shows & Exhibitions
Participants of trade shows and exhibitions can come into China on tourist visas and travel in-country. Notebook computers, cameras, and portable printers can be brought into China as personal belongings. Business firms seeking to bring in exhibits and items for display should consult with customs authorities or the show organizers for regulation on the procedures and to obtain copies of appropriate forms.

Temporary Entry
Goods imported in China for display or demonstration at trade shows and exhibitions are exempt from customs duty, provided they are re-exported within six months. The time for reexport may be extended with China Customs approval. The exhibition organizer must obtain advance approval from China Customs, provide certain shipping documents and a list of items to be exhibited, and coordinate with China Customs officials. China Customs may sometimes request a guarantee in the form of a deposit or letter.

A local sponsor with authority to engage in foreign trade may sponsor small exhibitions or technical seminars, requiring less than 1,000 square meters in exhibition space. Customs will handle the tariff exemption formalities based upon a guarantee of re-export that is signed between the sponsor and the foreign party.

Food and beverage exhibition "not-for-sale" sample-entry rules are frequently not acknowledged by Chinese authorities. Under the current system, such samples are officially subject not only to full tariff and taxes, but product and labeling registration requirements. Trade show organizers may be able to obtain exceptions, however these are largely of a one-off nature. It may also be possible to obtain exceptions to registration and labeling regulations at a given port by working through the local ATO office. However, such arrangements require substantial lead times and cannot be guaranteed.

Some exhibits or samples imported under the temporary not-for-sale regulations may be sold after the trade event is completed, in which case the duties owed on these items are levied by Customs.

According to the Corporation for International Business, the ATA Carnet Issuing authority in China no longer requires a cover letter along with the carnet presented to Chinese customs inspectors. The CIB is an ATA Carnet Service Provider of the U.S. Council for International Business (USCIB), New York City. USCIB is the Guaranteeing and Issuing Association for the ATA Carnet in the United States, under appointment of the U.S. Bureau of Customs and Border Protection. Interested firms can contact the CIB by sending an e-mail to carnets@atacarnet.com  or by calling the CIB Carnet hotline (800 ATA-2900).

Companies are advised that freight forwarders will help to prepare a declaration form and Chinese Customs requests the model and serial numbers for high-value exhibits. Requirements may differ for types of products to be imported. In addition, fumigation is required for all wooden packing materials, in accordance with IPPC standards, and must bear the IPPC symbol.

Importing Commercial Samples into Beijing, China
Import commercial samples are those articles imported specifically for the purpose of placing an order.
Related Regulations
Even if items can enter free of charge, they should be declared by the consignee or agent that registered at Customs.

Imported commercial samples subject to import controls should only be imported with licenses. It is recommended to consult with Customs at the destination before samples are sent from the origin country.

Imported commercial samples with no commercial value should be imported duty and VAT free, while all the other imported commercial samples are subject to duty and VAT.

Imported commercial samples that belong to companies that have not registered with Customs need to apply for temporary registration to Customs. It is recommended to consult the destination before samples are sent from the origin country.
If the commercial sample is made of any dangerous materials, it is recommended to send them directly to the final destination, and carriers and the final destination should be consulted prior to the samples being sent from the origin.

The normal operation for customs clearance in Beijing takes three days. Never consign commercial samples to an individuals’ name or hotel address.  It is highly recommended to check on the China Customs Regulations before sending samples.
Passenger Baggage
Reasonable quantities of items for personal use by short-term visitors may be imported duty-free. An individual is allowed to carry under $6,000 worth of foreign currency without having to declare it to Chinese Customs upon arrival.
Advertising Materials and Trade Samples
Shipments containing samples and advertising articles are taxed according to their respective commodity HS codes, unless they fulfill the following criteria:

  • Shipments with import tax less than US $8, and/or
  • Shipments with no business value, to be applied by shippers from Monday to Friday (domestic overseas), that pass strict physical inspection by China Customs, and/or
  • Only those parties who have registered with China Customs can declare shipments (i.e. China shipper, China consignee, and agent).

The following samples, regardless of value are dutiable: motor vehicles, bicycles, watches, televisions, recorders, radios, electric gramophones, cameras, refrigerators, sewing machines, photocopiers, air conditioners, electric fans, vacuum cleaners, acoustic equipment, video recording equipment, video cameras, amplifiers, projectors, calculators, electronic microscopes, electronic color analyzers and their major parts. In these cases, the shipper should not only use the word "sample" on the Air Waybill and Commercial Invoice, but also include a detailed description of the commodity. For more information contact the Customs General Administration of the People’s Republic of China.
Representative Offices’ Personal Effects and Vehicles
Representative offices must submit a written application to Customs if they intend to import any personal effects or vehicles. Approval by Customs waives any relevant import license requirements and allows the office to import the equipment in reasonable amounts for office-use only.
Processing Materials and Parts
Raw materials, components, spare parts, auxiliary materials, and packaging materials imported by FIEs for the production of goods which will be re-exported are exempt from customs duty and VAT. The materials and components must be processed into products and exported within one year from the date of importation. In special circumstances, an FIE can apply to extend the date of export to a total time no longer than two years from the date of importation. Bonded warehouses may be established within the FIE and are subject to supervision by Customs.
Goods that are allowed to be stored at a bonded warehouse for up to one or two years are limited to: materials and components to be used for domestic processing subject to re-exportation; goods imported under special Customs approval on terms of suspending the payment of import duties and VAT; goods in transit; spare parts for free maintenance of foreign products within the period of warranty; and fuel for aircraft and ships.

At the end of the two-year period, the goods must be imported for processing and re-exported, licensed for import, or disposed of by Customs. Customs duties and VAT may be assessed depending upon the degree of processing done in China. Goods imported under normal import contracts are not allowed to be stored in bonded warehouses.

Prepared by our U.S. Embassies abroad. With its network of 108 offices across the United States and in more than 75 countries, the U.S. Commercial Service of the U.S. Department of Commerce utilizes its global presence and international marketing expertise to help U.S. companies sell their products and services worldwide. Locate the U.S. Commercial Service trade specialist in the U.S. nearest you by visiting http://export.gov/usoffices.

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