SHANGHAI – The General Administration of Customs (GAC) recently announced that all of China’s Special Customs Supervision Zones (SCSZs), which previously fell under six different categories, will be uniformly renamed as “Comprehensive Bonded Zones” (CBZs) later this year. Not only will the SCSZs be changing names, but also their basic function. The new CBZs are expected to serve enterprises engaged in bonded processing, bonded logistics and bonded services.
Since 1990, 113 areas have been approved as SCSZs to meet the needs of economic development in China. These areas fall under six categories, namely bonded zones, export processing zones, bonded logistics parks, cross-border industrial zones, bonded port zones and comprehensive bonded zones – each serving different enterprises and business activities. However, a lack of readily-available information regarding the specific functions of each zone has made it difficult for foreign investors to choose the right location for their business operations. The GAC also stated that not all enterprises will be permitted to operate in the CBZs.
In the “Guidelines on Projects Suitable for Entry into the Special Customs Supervision Zones (SCSZs) (Shujiafa  No.196),” three categories of enterprises are highly encouraged to do business in the CBZs:
The processing enterprise’s target market will determine what kind of preferential policies apply. If the enterprise is selling to the domestic market, for example, the customs duty on the finished goods must be lower than the duty on the imported raw materials. This means that processing enterprises should avoid high consumption rate products such as tobacco, cosmetics and luxury goods.
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