According to Articles 56 to 58(1) of the Customs Law of the People’s Republic of China ("Customs Law")(2), there are three categories where duties may be reduced: statutory duty abatements or exemptions, deductions or exemptions on special goods, and temporary duty reductions or exemptions. "Deductions or exemptions on special goods" refers to goods imported into China that enjoy a reduction or exemption of duties in specified areas and enterprises or for special purposes until the expiration of customs supervision over such goods. Special goods which are subject to reductions or exemptions are divided into many categories according to the region, use of the goods, nature of the trading business and source of funds. According to related regulations, if the imported goods fall within certain product categories encouraged by the government, the foreign investment enterprise can apply for a preferential policy of deduction and/or exemption of duties.
However, in practice, some foreign investment enterprises, being unaware of customs supervision rules, receive penalties from China Customs offices for improper handling of these special goods that are otherwise eligible for reductions or exemptions of duties. Therefore, it is important for foreign investment enterprises to understand the relevant regulations concerning special goods that are eligible for deductions and exemptions.