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General Administration of Customs

The General Administration of Customs (GAC) is a ministerial-level government agency reporting directly to the State Council, and has responsibility for managing Customs facilities throughout China. The GAC has three main subsidiaries: Guangdong Sub-Customs Administration, the Supervising Office of the General Administration of Customs in Tianjin and the Supervising Office of the General Administration of Customs in Shanghai. The GAC is also in charge of 41 customs districts and 562 regional customs houses. The incumbent Minister is Mou Xinsheng, a member of the Communist Party Central Committee and a former vice-minister of public security.

In the past, corruption was a major problem in the Customs department, and as a result smuggling was commonplace. However, a far-reaching crackdown initiated by former premier Zhu Rongji led to the purging or imprisonment of many senior customs officials and has led apparently to drastic reductions in the level of abuse.

Clearing goods through Chinese Customs has always been a slow, labour-intensive and bureaucratic exercise. Recently, however, the government has made a priority of increasing efficiency levels, in particular by opening more Customs offices in local ports and by introducing more information technology.

China Customs has established a ‘3E Structure’ known as E-administration, E-customs and E-port. E-administration is composed mainly of the H2000 Clearance System and Logistics Supervision System, which provides services such as clearance procedures and duties management. The GAC aims to introduce a nationwide electronic customs clearance system that will shorten the time for importing and exporting goods to 24-48 hours, compared with the seven to 15 days that are common today. The E-port facility allows exchange and sharing of data and information among Customs, enterprises and other government departments. E-administration provides Customs with timely and accurate data. With hundreds of customs offices across the country now linked to these systems, the cost, transparency and security of customs clearance is rapidly improving throughout China. Major GAC responsibilities include:

  • controlling transportation of inbound and outbound goods;
  • collecting customs duties and taxes;
  • combating smuggling;
  • enforcing intellectual property rights; and
  • collecting statistical data.

The Customs Statistical Department has about 1,000 staff charged with tracking statistics relating to goods in transit to and from China. These are commonly used in compiling the government’s official trade figures and estimates.

General Administration of Customs
6 Jianguomen Dajie
Dongcheng District
Beijing 100730
Tel: +86 (0)10 6519 5040
Fax: +86 (0)10 6519 4004
Website (English version): http://english.customs.gov.cn/

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