China Regulatory Brief: Business License Reform & Shanghai FTZ Customs Clearance

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China Implements New Version of the Business License

The State Administration of Industry and Commerce (SAIC) implemented a new version of the business license on March 1 in accordance with the new capital subscription system, furthering its goal to enhance the transparency of enterprise information and public supervision. The new business license includes a QR code, enabling the public to view all relevant details pertaining to the enterprise with one scan using a mobile device, including its registration number and business scope. All new versions of the business license will have a unified vertical format – the license will be A4 sized while its copy will be A3 in size. The old business licenses will remain effective, but enterprises are required to convert to the new version before February 28, 2015. If a company applies to make any changes to its business license before this date, a new business license will be issued.

China and Germany Sign New DTA

On March 28, China and Germany signed a new Agreement for the Avoidance of Double Taxation and Prevention of Fiscal Evasion (DTA), emphasizing the reduction of tax burden for cross-border investors. Provisions were also added to the new DTA to prevent abuse of the agreement. The two countries will further cooperate in dealing with base erosion and profit transfer under the G20 joint statement.

China Announces Preferential Policies for Three Development Zones

On March 27, the Ministry of Finance and State Administration of Taxation jointly released a “Circular on Preferential Corporate Income Tax (CIT) Policies and Preferential Catalog for Hengqin New Area in Guangdong Province, Pingtan Comprehensive Pilot Zone (PCPZ) in Fujian Province, and the Qianhai Shenzhen-Hong Kong Modern Service Industry Cooperation Zone (Caishui [2014] No.26, hereinafter referred to as the ‘Circular’)”. According to the Circular, eligible enterprises in Hengqin, Pingtan and Qianhai will be taxed at a reduced 15 percent CIT rate. Enterprises that wish to enjoy the preferential tax rate should meet the following conditions:

  • Engage in eligible business activities as stipulated in the Preferential Catalog; and
  • Income from such business activities should account for more than 70 percent of the enterprises’ total income.

Specifically, if enterprises are eligible for the 15 percent CIT rate according to the Circular as well as other preferential treatments in accordance with the CIT law, they can enjoy both treatments. Where other reduced tax rates apply, enterprises can choose the most preferential rate.

China Levies Anti-Dumping Duties on Pulp from the U.S., Canada and Brazil

On April 4, the Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) issued an “Announcement on the Final Ruling on the Anti-Dumping Probe into Imported Pulp from the United States, Canada and Brazil (Announcement No.18, 2014, of the Ministry of Commerce, hereinafter referred to as the ‘Announcement’)”.

The MOFCOM announced that according to the anti-dumping probe launched on February 6, 2013, the pulp importers from the three countries have dumped pulp on the Chinese market, causing substantial damage to the domestic industry. According to the Announcement, importers of pulp originating from the U.S., Canada and Brazil are subject to anti-dumping duties levied by China starting from April 6. Pulp imported prior to April 6 will not be subject to the levy of anti-dumping duties. The duties will be effective for five years. The specific anti-dumping duty rates can be found here.

Shanghai FTZ Speeds Up Customs Clearance

On April 2, the Shanghai Customs announced that, with regard to bonded goods directly imported into the Shanghai Free Trade Zone (Shanghai FTZ), verification of the “Customs Clearance Form for Entry Commodities” issued by the Inspection and Quarantine Departments will no longer be required. Also, previously, there were two kinds of customs record-filing forms with 29 and 40 reporting elements, respectively, applied to different areas of the Shanghai FTZ. The customs record-filing forms will now be unified and the new form will consist of 30 reporting elements.

China Extends Deadline for Claiming Overdue Export Refunds

On April 4, the State Administration of Taxation (SAT) released an “Announcement on Relevant Issues Regarding Extending the Deadline for Processing Overdue Export Refunds (SAT Announcement [2014] No.20, hereinafter referred to as the ‘Announcement’)”. The Announcement stipulates that goods exported before December 31, 2013, which did not meet the deadline for applying for export refunds due to conditions stipulated in SAT Circular [2013] No. 12, will be given an extension for claiming export refunds. Enterprises should submit the application along with relevant proof to the tax authorities before June 30, 2014.

China Facilitates Overseas Investment Approval and Filing

On April 8, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) issued the “Administrative Measures for Approval and Record-filing for Overseas Investment Projects (Guo Ban Fa [2014] No.9, hereinafter referred to as ‘Measures’)”. According to the new Measures, overseas investment projects with the Chinese party’s investment exceeding US$1 billion are to be subject to approval by the NDRC via its provincial level department, while projects involving Chinese investment of US$1 billion or less are to be subject to record-filing. For projects with Chinese investment amounting to US$2 billion or more and involving sensitive countries, regions and industries, the NDRC will forward its opinions to the State Council for its approval. The Measures will take effect on May 8, 2014.

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