On April 7 2016, A total of 11 departments, including Ministry of Finance, General Administration of Customs, AQSIQ, CFDA etc., jointly issued a notice about The Positive List on Cross-Border E-Commerce of Imported Commodities at Retail (hereinafter referred to as the positive list), to support the implementation of tax policy on cross-border e-commerce of imported food at retail (B2C) on April 8 2016 (Link).
The positive list involves a total of 1142 commodity categories. Only the listed commodities can be imported to China through cross-border e-commerce, in other words, commodities out of the positive list will be forbidden to import through this trade mode.
As a major part of cross-border e-commerce imported commodities (B2C), common food, infant food and health food (dietary supplement) are influenced seriously under this new list.
1. The included and excluded food categories
Included or not
Common prepackaged food (except those listed below)
Most are included
I. Most categories of common prepackaged foods are included in the positive list, such as chocolate, candy, pastry and bread, honey, and common beverages.
II. For the detailed information, please refer to the Chinese version positive list here.
Most are excluded
I. Yoghurt, cheese, whey etc., are listed.
II. Liquid milk (including pasteurized milk, UHT milk, modified milk), and milk powder (except formulated milk powder) are all out of the positive list.
Part are included
I. Only registered infant formula milk powder under CFDA can be imported by cross-border e-commerce, others are not allowed.
II. Other prepackaged common infant foods are all included.
III. For the moment, there is only a draft for the formula registration of infant formulated milk powder. Therefore, according to the official explantion from Customs Division, the registration certificate is not required until January 1 2018.
Most are excluded
I. Small packaged wine (≤2L) is included in the positive list.
II.Other alcohols, such as other packaged wine, beer, and distilled spirits are all excluded.
(vegetables, fruits, animal products )
These fresh foods are all excluded by the positive list.
I.In China, health food (dietary supplements) should be registered or filed under CFDA.
II. All health food are out of the positive list.
PS. The commodities included in the positive list are exempted from submitting the license to the customs. When entering the bonded zone, the customs clearance form of online bonded commodities will be checked in accordance with traditional commodities, and it will be exempted when leaving the bonded zone.
2. Influence under this new policy
2.1 Various foods are forbidden
Before the new tax policy, health food, dairy products, etc., can enter Chinese market quickly through cross-border e-commerce. But after April 8 2016, these food categories are all not allowed to import in this way. Therefore, relevant enterprises have to change their trade mode.
2.2 The advantages of cross-border e-commerce are weakened
Various categories and cheap price are two of main advantages forcross-border e-commerce compared with traditional trade. After the implementation of the new tax policy, these advantages are weakened, enterprises has to face the competition pressure and challenge.
There is only one day transitional period between the publication and implementation of the positive list, many implementary measures are still need to be explained and detailed, CIRS suggest relevant enterprises should pay attention to policy trends.