China to improve port services
BEIJING - A guideline issued Friday by the State Council, China's cabinet, outlined measures to improve port services and support foreign trade.
To speed up customs clearance, authorities will cut red tape and minimize unnecessary work in the ports themselves, according to the document released on Friday.
"These measures focus on supporting foreign trade with easier and better customs clearance services," said Huang Shengqiang, director of the General Administration of Customs' port management office.
Charges for hoisting, moving and storing qualified cargo will be waived, and cargo examination procedures will be reviewed to ensure they cause minimal disturbance to businesses, the document said.
To tackle the prevalence of irregular charges and illegal agencies, all fees will be standardized, a move that will lower costs for businesses.
Customs clearance will no longer be heavily-paperwork based, instead online and digital tools will be used. This will also expedite the export rebate process.
The digitalization of customs clearance will include a self-service system for tourists entering and leaving the country, as well as online apps that will simplify the import and export of vehicles.
Huang said 293 ports had been authorized to open up to foreign trade, which would not only fuel major domestic-led strategies but also drive growth in neighboring countries.
The State Council said the building of ports and infrastructure projects in countries along major global transportation channels would also be prioritized.
In accordance with the underlying concepts of the Belt and Road Initiative, all ports should cooperate with each other, forming leading groups to integrate their work.
In addition, enterprises will be encouraged to take advantage of these new dynamic port areas and establish offices, bases or distribution centers.