The General Administration of Customs promulgated the Measures of the Customs of the People’s Republic of China on The Administration of Origin of Import and Export Goods under the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (Hereinafter referred to as the Measures) on November 23, 2021 (Order No. 255 of the General Administration of Customs), which will take effect on January 1, 2022. In order to fully understand and accurately grasp the background and key contents of the enactment of the regulations, the relevant issues are interpreted as follows:
I. Background and purpose of revision
The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (RCEP) has met the entry into force requirements and will enter into force on 1 January 2022. In order to complete the conversion of domestic laws related to the rules of origin under the AGREEMENT and promote the implementation of the rules of origin under the Agreement, it is necessary to formulate relevant customs regulations.
II. Major issues that need to be addressed
(I) Style structure.
The Measures consists of six chapters and a total of 44 chapters. The first chapter “General Provisions” specifies the legislative purpose, legal basis and scope of application. Chapter II “Rules of Origin” specifies the rules for the identification of the qualification of origin and the country (region) of origin of goods under the A GRE ement; The third chapter, “Certificate of Origin”, clarifies the substantive requirements of the certificate of origin under the AGREEMENT. Chapter iv “Preferential Procedures for Customs Clearance of Imported Goods” mainly regulates the requirements and procedures for application of tariff rates under the AGREEMENT for China’s imported goods; The fifth chapter “Export Goods Licensing Procedures” mainly clarifies the specific requirements of China’s licensing agencies and approved exporters to issue or issue certificates of origin; Chapter vi “Supplementary Provisions” mainly provides provisions on document preservation, credit management, and definitions of terms.
(II) Scope of application.
Since 10 of the current 15 Parties to the Agreement have completed their domestic legal approval procedures, those parties that have not will need to do so before the Agreement can be applied. Therefore, the provisions of the Measures apply only to the administration of origin of imports and exports among members of the AGREEMENT (i.e., countries that have implemented the Agreement), and the list of members is dynamically adjusted by public announcement (Art. 2).
(III) Qualification of origin and country of origin.
Chapter II of the Measures includes the concept of origin at the two levels of “qualification of origin” and “country (region) of origin” under the AGREEMENT, mainly because according to the Provisions of the Agreement, it is possible to determine whether goods have the qualification of origin in the area of the Agreement before determining the specific country (region) of origin. After determining that the goods have the qualification of origin, the consignee of the imported goods can directly apply for the highest tariff rate applied to the same goods of other members without specifying the country (region) of origin (Article 27).
(IV) Obtaining the qualification of origin of goods and determining the country of origin (region).
The Measures firstly define the conditions for obtaining the qualification of origin under the Agreement (articles 3 to 13), which are the general provisions of the rules of origin under existing preferential trade agreements. Second set of qualifications for origin of goods, to determine the country of origin (region) of standard article (article 14 to 16), including the country of origin (region) of general judgment standard, the list of special goods country of origin of goods (area) the judgment standard, and could not be determined by two standard before the judgment standard of country of origin (region).
(V) Certificate of origin.
Certificate of origin under the AGREEMENT includes certificate of origin and declaration of origin. It specifies the standards that certificate of origin and declaration of origin should meet (articles 18 to 21), the scope of application of back-to-back certificates of origin and the standards that should be met (Articles 22 and 23). It should be noted that back-to-back certificate of origin is the characteristic system of the AGREEMENT. It is mainly used to prove that untreated goods of origin transited or re-exported by one member do not change their qualification of origin and country (region) of origin. It is essentially the endorsement of the original certificate of origin by the member of transit or re-export.
(VI) China’s import goods customs clearance preferential procedures and export goods visa procedures.
Chapter IV of the Measures specifies that goods of origin under the Agreement may choose to apply the corresponding agreed tariff rate when going through import customs clearance procedures in China (Article 25). At the same time, the specific requirements for declaration are clarified (Articles 26, 28 to 31). Chapter V mainly provides specific provisions on the procedures for Issuing certificates of origin by Chinese visa agencies. In addition, it stipulates that approved exporters may issue declarations of origin in accordance with these Measures, and their administration shall be carried out in accordance with The Measures for the Administration of Customs Approved Exporters (Article 39).
Article source：General Administration of Customs, PRC
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