By Christian Sivière, Solutions Import Export Logistique MC, Montréal

The General Administration of Customs (GAC) has announced the implementation of a “single window” pilot project at the China Shanghai Pilot Free Trade Zone.

This follows the government initiative to simplify procedures for businesses announced earlier this year by Premier Li Keqiang. GAC spokesperson Zhang Guangzhi explained that under the "single window" mechanism, trade enterprises will be allowed to submit all relevant documents, certificates and import declarations via a single platform and one-stop processing will then be provided to such submissions. The "single window" process will help facilitate coordination among the various departments involved and enhance customs clearance. This "single window" pilot will first be implemented at the China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone. Online function testing will first be carried out at the Yangshan Bonded Port Zone In June. Once tested and fully functional, it should be expanded to other areas.

Currently, clearing goods for consumption into China is a two-steps process involving the General Administration of Customs (GAC) and the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ), involving two declarations, potentially two inspections, etc. When fully operational, this single window should shorten clearance time and lower costs for Chinese importers.