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I. Arrangement
Q1What is the requirement of Hong Kong Customs in issuing the Certificate of Non-manipulation?
A1

In accordance with the requirements of the Mainland China and the signatory countries/regions, Hong Kong Customs issues the Certificate of Non-manipulation to the applicant for transhipment cargoes under the following transhipment mode:
- transhipment cargoes from the signatory countries/regions to the Mainland China via Hong Kong;
- transhipment cargoes from the Mainland China to Taiwan via Hong Kong; and
- transhipment cargoes from the Mainland China to Korea via Hong Kong.

For details, please refer to the briefing notes of the FTA Scheme:
http://www.customs.gov.hk/en/trade_facilitation/fta/principle/index.html

Q2Will the transhipment cargoes from the United States to the Mainland China via Hong Kong be eligible to apply for the Certificate of Non-manipulation and be entitled to preferential tariff?
A2

Under the Free Trade Agreements (FTA) signed by the Mainland China, Hong Kong Customs will issue the Certificate of Non-manipulation for the transhipment cargoes via Hong Kong to the Mainland China, Taiwan and Korea. Currently, the relevant FTA signatory countries/regions include ASEAN countries (Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam), Taiwan, Korea, Australia, Pakistan, Singapore, Iceland, Switzerland, Chile, Costa Rica, Peru, New Zealand and Asia-Pacific Trade Agreement countries (Bangladesh, India, Laos, Korea and Sri Lanka).

Cargoes from non-FTA signatory countries/regions are not entitled to the preferential tariff and no Certificate of Non-manipulation is thus required.

Q3Under the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) and 12 Free Trade Agreements signed by the Mainland China, why does Hong Kong Customs provide facilitation services for transhipment cargoes from all signatory countries/regions heading for the Mainland China, whereas the service only covers transhipment cargoes via Hong Kong to Taiwan and Korea?
A3

Under the ECFA and 12 Free Trade Agreements signed by the Mainland China, upon request by the signatory countries/regions, Hong Kong Customs will provide supervision service and issue Certificate of Non-manipulation for transhipment cargoes. Currently, the Mainland, Taiwan and Korea have designated Hong Kong Customs to operate the FTA Scheme.

Q4For those transhipment cargoes not requiring Certificate of Non-manipulation under the Free Trade Agreement Transhipment Facilitation Scheme (the FTA Scheme), how to prove its eligibility for preferential tariff to the destination country?
A4

Enterprises and importers have to retain the relevant transhipment documents showing that the cargoes are not required to apply for Certificate of Non-manipulation. Such document includes, single through bill of lading, storage record during transhipment and relevant cargo records. Traders have to provide the importing signatory countries/regions with the related documents supporting their eligibility for preferential tariff.

Q5What is bulk cargo?
A5

Under the FTA Scheme, non-containerized cargo is defined as bulk cargo.

Q6What is single through bill of lading?
A6

According to China Customs, a single through bill of lading issued by international liner transportation operators and their trusted agents, civil aviation transportation enterprises and international express enterprises for transhipment cargoes arriving Hong Kong via air/sea freight should display on the same page the departure point, which is within the boundary of the country of origin (region), and the destination point which is within the boundary of the Mainland China. For sea freight in which the country of origin (region) being an inland, the departure point could be the port of loading of sea cargo.

Q7For the transhipment cargoes via Hong Kong which are not required to apply for a Certificate of Non-manipulation under the FTA Scheme, such as transhipment cargo to the Mainland China with a single through bill of lading, or to Korea with transhipment storage period less than 7 days at the Hong Kong International Airport cargo terminals and Kwai Tsing 1-9 Container Terminals, will the enterprise or the importer automatically be entitled for the preferential tariff?
A7

Enterprises and importers have to retain the relevant transhipment documents showing that the cargoes are not required to apply for a Certificate of Non-manipulation. Such documents include, single through bill of lading, storage record during transhipment and relevant cargo records. Traders have to provide the importing signatory countries/regions with the related documents supporting their eligibility for preferential tariff. Cargoes meeting the necessary transhipment requirements will enjoy the preferential tariff without applying for the Certificate, thus saving cost and transportation time.

Q8For transhipment cargo to Korea requiring temporary storage in Hong Kong, will a Certificate of Non-manipulation be required if the cargo is not stored at a recognized location or the temporary storage period lasts for more than 7 days?
A8

The recognized locations and temporary storage period are stipulated by the Korea Customs. If the cargo is stored at a place other than the recognized locations or the temporary storage period lasts for more than 7 days, the trader or importer is required to make an application to Hong Kong Customs for a Certificate of Non-manipulation.

Q9How can the FTA Scheme enrich the facilitation services provided under the ECFA? And how can the industry benefit from it?
A9

Under the ECFA, all transshipment cargoes are required to apply for a Certificate of Non-manipulation from Hong Kong Customs. Under the new FTA Scheme, transshipment cargo from Taiwan en route Hong Kong is no longer required to apply for a Certificate of Non-manipulation if they can fulfil one of the following conditions:
(1) Can produce a single through bill of lading (i.e. Showing on a single page bill of lading that the place of receipt is the place of origin of the imported cargo and the place of delivery is the Mainland China; and if the place of origin of maritime cargo is an inland country, the place of receipt of the cargo can be the port of receipt; or
(2) If a single through bill of lading cannot be produced, a set of through bill of lading will be accepted if it can prove the number of container and the seal number remain unchanged. Under the new FTA Scheme, the industry can be benefited from a lower operating cost and a shorter transportation time.

Q10How long is the maximum period of stay for the transhipment cargo in Hong Kong if joining the FTA Scheme?
A10

The maximum period of stay for the transhipment cargo in the third place may vary, depending on the conditions agreed between the Mainland China and the signatory counties/regions under respective FTAs. For example, the maximum transhipment period is 3 months under the China-Korea Free Trade Agreement, and it is 12 months under the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement.

Q11Can I submit application upon the arrival of the consignments?
A11

Under the FTA Scheme, applicants should submit the application at least one calendar day prior to the arrival of the consignments.

Q12Is there any difference for the documents required between the FTA Scheme and ECFA?
A12

Documents required are almost the same for both arrangements. Yet, it depends on different requirements of the signatory countries/regions and also the extent of supervision services provided by Hong Kong Customs.

Q13Who can apply for the service of FTA Scheme?
A13

Any person being authorized by the cargo owner holding a valid Hong Kong Business Registration Certificate can apply for the service of the FTA Scheme.

Q14How can an applicant apply for the service of the FTA Scheme? What kinds of supporting documents are required for the application and what are the fees?
A14

The relevant information are listed in details in Parts V – VII of the Briefing Notes.(Free Trade Agreement Transhipment Facilitation Scheme (FTA Scheme) Briefing NotesFree Trade Agreement Transhipment Facilitation Scheme (FTA Scheme) Briefing Notes(Opens a new window))

Q15When applying for the service of the FTA Scheme, is the original copy of the Certificate of Origin required to be submitted for Hong Kong Customs’ endorsement?
A15

The applicant is required to provide the following supporting documents to Hong Kong Customs when applying for the Certificate of Non-manipulation: -
a. Hong Kong Business Registration Certificate of the applicant;
b. The through bills of lading of the cargo concerned;
c. Certificate of Origin of the cargo concerned;
d. Packing list (only applicable to bulk cargo or cargo that needs to be consolidated (vanning/devanning));
e. Authorization Letter of the cargo owner (if applicable);
f. A complete storage record of the cargo during their transhipment stay in Hong Kong (only applicable for cargo heading for Korea); and
g. Other relevant supporting document (if applicable).

Before issuing the Certificate of Non-manipulation, Hong Kong Customs has scrutinized all documents including the Certificate of Origin. Therefore, no endorsement will be made on the original copy of the Certificate of Origin.

Q16Will photocopies instead of original documents be accepted when applying for the FTA Scheme?
A16

Applicant can submit document copies for the FTA Scheme. Under normal circumstances, Hong Kong Customs accepts applications with related documents through email. Original document will be required for verification upon request only.

Hong Kong Customs has set up dedicated email accounts for the FTA Scheme to facilitate traders in submitting applications, with the details as follows:

For transhipment cargoes via HK to the Mainland China -
fta_china_application@customs.gov.hk

For transhipment cargoes via HK to other region/countries -
fta_others_application@customs.gov.hk

Q17For the application of the FTA Scheme, can an applicant submit the application form first and provide the supporting documents later on?
A17

Under the principle of trade facilitation, an applicant can submit the application form first and provide the supporting documents (e.g. through bill of lading of the last leg) later on. Yet, Hong Kong Customs can only complete the procedures and issue a Certificate of Non-manipulation after all supporting documents are submitted.

Q18Why Hong Kong Customs has different arrangements for the transhipment cargoes to Australia and Korea?
A18

The related arrangements are taken forward in accordance with the requirements made by the FTA signatory countries.




II. Customs Clearance
Q19Will the cargoes under the FTA Scheme be exempted from Hong Kong Customs’ inspection?
A19

Hong Kong Customs launches the FTA Scheme with an aim to facilitating traders in applying for the preferential tariff under respective FTAs. Cargo under the FTA Scheme is treated the same as other general cargoes. Hong Kong Customs adopts intelligence-led and risk management on cargo selection for examination. This also applies to the cargoes under the FTA Scheme.

Q20Will the cargo under the FTA Scheme be exempted from China Customs’ inspection if cargo examination has been conducted by Hong Kong Customs?
A20

Hong Kong Customs adopts risk management on cargo selection for examination. The examination on cargo under the FTA Scheme is the same as other general cargoes. The cargo under the FTA Scheme will not be exempted from inspection by the Mainland Customs even if it has been examined by Hong Kong Customs.

Q21Transhipment containerized cargo with a single through bill of lading is not required to apply for the Certificate of Non-manipulation. However, if the subject containerized cargo is selected for examination by Hong Kong Customs and the original seal is broken, will it be necessary to apply for the Certificate of Non-manipulation?
A21

Hong Kong Customs may select the transhipment cargo under the FTA Scheme for examination even a Certificate of Non-manipulation is not required initially. Upon receiving request from the concerned trader, Hong Kong Customs will verify the case and issue a covering Certificate of Non-manipulation.

Q22If my transhipment consignments are required to undergo inspection / quarantine by the China Inspection Co. Ltd. (CIC) in Hong Kong, do I need to apply for the “Certificate of Non-manipulation” from Hong Kong Customs?
A22

According to the China Customs Notice (No. 52 of 2016) promulgated by the General Administration of Customs, PRC on 20 September 2016, all transhipment cargoes (including containerized and bulk cargo) heading for Mainland China and requiring inspection and quarantine in Hong Kong only require a “Certificate of Non-manipulation” issued by the CIC for applying for preferential tariff from China Customs.

Q23Apart from those cargoes that require inspection and quarantine in Hong Kong, all other transhipment bulk cargoes that wish to enjoy preferential tariff have to apply for the Certificate of Non-manipulation from Hong Kong Customs. Is that true?
A23

Apart from the transhipment bulk cargoes bearing a single through bill of lading or transhipment cargoes required to undergo inspection/quarantine by the CIC in Hong Kong, all other bulk transshipment cargoes that wish to enjoy preferential tariff have to apply for the Certificate of Non-manipulation from Hong Kong Customs.

Q24During cargo consolidation, what kind of service will Hong Kong Customs provide and what is the applicant required to do in the process?
A24

During cargo consolidation, Hong Kong Customs will provide supervision service and traders in general facilitate the process with the following: -
1. By enclosing the cargo with net, of which the opening will be sealed by Hong Kong Customs; and
2. By moving the cargo directly from an importing container to an exporting container, the door of which a Customs Seal will be applied by Hong Kong Customs.

Q25What is the packing requirement of transhipment cargoes which require cargo consolidation in Hong Kong for applying Customs seals?
A25

The following photos show the samples of the cargoes processed and affixed with Customs seals by Hong Kong Customs for reference purpose. Subject to a variety of situations, Hong Kong Customs will determine the packing requirement according to the cargo nature at scene.









III. Service Fees
Q26In case the goods listed under the same application are transhipped via Hong Kong in two separate shipments, do I need double payments?
A26

Each bill of lading is regarded as one application and the fee is charged on that basis.

Q27What are the fees for applying for the FTA Scheme?
A27

The FTA Scheme adopts user-pay principle for different service provided. Applicant is required to pay $155 for the documentary processing upon their submission of application. An additional fee ranging from $625 to $1,470 will be applied for the consignments involving vanning/ devanning or repacking.




IV. Publicity and Promotions
Q28What has Hong Kong Customs done in promoting the FTA Scheme and let the traders know the facilitation arrangement?
A28

Hong Kong Customs has launched a series of promotion activities for the FTA Scheme targeting both the local and overseas traders, freight companies and trade associations. The activities include consultation with business sectors and customer liaison groups, large-scale briefing session, press release, government notice, announcement on the internet website, as well as the publicity and lobbying by the local and overseas Economic and Trade Offices.

 

FAQs