Introducing 16 New Measures to Spur the Development of Shipping Enterprises
Venue: Beijing Rui'an Hotel
Date: June 18, 2021
Hostess: Meng Xiaoyuan, Spokesperson of NIA, deputy director general of the Department of General Affairs of NIA
Guests: Liu Haitao, director general of the Department of Border Control and Management of NIA
Jin Weicheng, deputy director general of the Department of Border Control and Management of NIA
On the morning of June 18, the National Immigration Administration (NIA) held a press conference in Beijing, announcing 16 new measures aimed at spurring the development of shipping enterprises. Meng Xiaoyuan, spokesperson of NIA and deputy director general of the Department of General Affairs of NIA hosted the press conference. Director general Liu Haitao and deputy director general Jin Weicheng of the Department of Border Control and Management of NIA attended the conference and answered questions from journalists.
[Meng Xiaoyuan]: Ladies and gentlemen, friends from the press:
Good morning. Welcome to the press conference of NIA!
We are here to announce the 16 new measures formulated by NIA to promote the development of shipping enterprises. We are very glad to have Director General Liu Haitao and Deputy Director General Jin Weicheng of the Department of Border Control and Management of NIA here to introduce the measures and take your questions.
First of all, I would like to invite Director General Liu Haitao to introduce the 16 new measures.
[Liu Haitao]: Friends from the press:
Good morning! Thanks for your attention and support for immigration and exit-entry administration work.
As the centenary of the founding of the Communist Party of China (CPC) is coming soon, I feel very delighted to introduce the 16 new measures to you,
With focusing on serving the people and market entities in a down-to-earth manner and comprehensively reflecting on the implementation of the Ten New Measures for Shipping Hub Building of Yangtze Delta Area rolled out at the end of 2020, NIA furthered reform and innovation to release policy dividends by introducing experiences and good practices in pilot regions to more ports across the whole nation. The measures will deliver tangible results to businesses and people by helping businesses improve their quality and efficiency and bringing people more convenience. The practices are implemented to thoroughly implement the guiding principles of the Fifth Plenary Session of the 19th CPC Central Committee of pressing ahead with reforms to streamline administration, delegate power, improve regulation and upgrade services, further improving business environment, intensifying efforts in pandemic prevention and control so as to contribute to establish a dual circulation development pattern in which domestic and foreign markets complement and reinforce one another, with the domestic market as the mainstay.
The 16 new measures are divided into four aspects:
Three measures are formulated to backup the development of enterprises. First, administrative permits of border inspection at ports can be processed in one place and available across the region, so that red tape can be cut to facilitate the production of enterprises at ports. Second, vessels engaged in international voyages are eligible for one-off exit-entry formalities, so that their time for stay at ports can be reduced, thus helping shipping enterprises lower operating costs and preventing imported cases. Third, border inspection formalities will be facilitated for foreign vessels shifting berths among ports to improve the efficiency of ship berthing and port operations.
We have two measures in place to increase industry competitiveness. First, support the development of bonded fuel oil supply for vessels engaged in international voyages by streamlining border inspection formalities for such vessels. Second, support shipyards to boost competitiveness by strengthening enterprise integrity management and in-process and ex post regulation to facilitate the operation of shipyards for vessels engaged in international voyages.
Another six measures are introduced to ensure smooth customs clearance at ports. First, optimize the facilitation of customs clearance for ports along the Belt and Road to cover more border ports and countries along the Belt and Road so as to make the international logistics channel smoother. Second, promote fast customs clearance for exit-entry vehicles concerning border inspection. This can not only further increase the clearance efficiency at land ports, but also help reduce human-to-human contact, thus lowering the risk of the spread of COVID-19. Third, promote the "cooperative inspection for one-check release" practice at more land ports in Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao regarding inspection to further promote the efficient flow of personnel and transport means in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area. Fourth, exit-entry customs clearance will be provided for ships traveling internationally 24/7 at ports across the nation to further lower the operating costs of ports and shipping enterprises and increase their operating efficiency for enhanced competitiveness. Fifth, open "fast tracks" for the exit-entry border inspection of commodities, fresh products, anti-pandemic supplies and people's daily necessities, so as to accelerate the circulation of various production factors. Sixth, establish "emergency lanes" for emergency response personnel and cross-border emergency repair personnel in major projects to win more time and facilitate procedures for emergency response and repair.
We also have five measures to facilitate the public access to government services. First, vessels engaged in international voyages are able to apply for and receive pre-inspection and obtain administrative permits of border inspection online at ports across the nation, where applicants will not have to pay field visits any longer for administrative permits at ports. Second, digitalize filing procedures of fast customs clearance for cross-border vehicles and drivers in Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao to make the filing process more efficient. Third, streamline exit-entry border inspection procedures for Chinese employees at land ports and extend the validity period of their exit-entry certificates, so as to save financial and time costs in replacing and claiming certificates. Fourth, establish a coordination mechanism between immigration border inspection authorities and port/airport shipping enterprises, as well as border (cross-border) economic cooperation zones. Solicit advice and suggestions from relevant enterprises and exit-entry personnel to constantly improve our services. Fifth, provide 24/7 consulting services on immigration management information in both Chinese and English to Chinese and foreigners through China Immigration Service Hotline, and actively respond to public concerns through professional, convenient and practical consulting services.
The 16 new measures aim to meet the needs of shipping enterprises and socioeconomic development. Their introduction is a major step taken by NIA to fully implement the decisions of the CPC Central Committee and the State Council to press ahead with reforms to streamline administration, delegate power, improve regulation and upgrade services, and take both domestic and international overall situation into consideration so as to contribute to establish a new development paradigm, and promote high-quality development. The measures will definitely further boost the development of shipping enterprises and help sustain the good momentum in China's import and export sector.
The 16 new measures will take effect from today. Going forward, we will strengthen overall planning and guidance, follow up the implementation and seek feedback to ensure the successful implementation of these measures. During the implementation, we will always put prevention of imported cases high on our agenda, tighten various pandemic prevention and control measures, and strengthen the in-process and ex post regulation to ensure national safety and the free flow of goods and personnel at ports.
This is all for the introduction, thank you!
[Meng Xiaoyuan]: Thanks for Director General Liu Haitao's detailed introduction. Friends from the press, please raise questions of your interest around our theme today. Please identify the media you represent before raising questions.
[People's Daily]: I would like to ask what are the considerations behind the 16 new measures.
[Liu Haitao]: Thanks for your question. NIA has introduced a series of new measures that benefit both enterprises and the public, including measures to boost the shipping hub building of the Yangtze Delta Area and measures regarding pandemic prevention and control for the good of economy and people's wellbeing.
These measures are outcomes embodied our resolutions in carrying out the decision and plan of the CPC Central Committee while taking the needs of socioeconomic development, companies and the public into consideration. Tireless efforts have been made to deepen reforms to streamline administration, delegate power, improve regulation, and upgrade services, and constantly improve business environment.
Since the beginning of this year, under the strong leadership of the CPC Central Committee, China's economy has shown a stable, solid and sound growth, with foreign trade going up constantly. From January to May, the total volume of import and export of goods reached 14.76 trillion yuan with a year-on-year growth of 28.2%; the number of freighters engaged in international voyages grew steadily, a 3.2% increase year-on-year. Cross-border freight at land ports has entered the peak season, with the number of trucks and trains growing 1.4% year-on-year. The cargo throughput at some ports and land ports runs at a high level, hitting a new record high over the same period.
Against this backdrop, taking the opportunity of the CPC party history learning and education activity and the practice of "Serving the people in a down-to-earth manner", we rolled out the 16 new measures for the benefit of shipping enterprises. There are mainly four considerations behind, which can be summarized as "3Ps and 1E". First, to promote development. To promote high-standard opening-up and high-quality development and support major national development strategies such as the Belt and Road Initiative, the building of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area and the building of strategic energy routes, etc., NIA introduced and adjusted immigration management policies and measures to ensure smooth customs clearance for exit-entry personnel and transport means and the stability of national industrial chain and supply chain. Second, to promote the growth of business. While combining pandemic prevention and control with economic and social development, the CPC Central Committee and the State Council took heed of the needs and expectations of market entities, implemented targeted policies to help market entities overcome difficulties and achieve development, thus injecting more vitality to them.
Currently, shipping enterprises are still facing many difficulties in production and development. NIA leverages its functions to better meet the development needs of shipping enterprises and further innovate immigration management policies and measures, so as to vitalize market entities, lower their operating costs and forge their competitiveness.
Third, to promote people's well-being. As pandemic prevention and control have become regular, given the convenience enabled by modern technology, the public are expecting us to optimize border inspection formalities and facilitate exit-entry at ports. NIA, while focusing on identifying and solving problems, reviews our current regulations, processes and formalities on immigration exit-entry management, and are focusing on the digitalization of public services to improve our work mechanism and optimize our management approaches. As a result, immigration management services can be provided in a more accessible manner, and various measures can be more intelligent and bring more convenience and care for the people.
Fourth, to ensure safety. Safety is the prerequisite of development. NIA stays committed to a holistic approach to national security, balances security and development, upholds a systematic concept and remains mindful of worse-case scenarios. We will ensure pandemic prevention and control during the implementation of the new measures and in our work, so as to ensure the safety of exit-entry personnel, goods and transport means, and prevent imported cases by safeguarding the ports.
These are our major considerations. Thank you!
[Xinhua News Agency]: What are the highlights of these new measures?
[Liu Haitao]: Thank you for your question. The 16 new measures mainly target ports and land ports. By optimizing border inspection formalities for the exit-entry of vessels engaged in international voyages, vessels' time for stay at ports will be shortened, thus helping lower costs for shipping enterprises. As the application for administrative permits of border inspection is digitalized and the permits are available across the region, customs clearance is faster, improving the operating efficiency of ports.
With improved management approaches and enhanced in-process and ex post regulation, the quality of inspection has been improved and formalities have been streamlined. In short, major highlights of these measures can be concluded as: less red tape, higher efficiency and better results. In terms of cutting red tape, the policy of obtaining the administrative permit in one port and available to use across the ports is implemented at port border inspections, replacing the former policy of obtaining permit at each port. Such policy helps both enterprises and other people to reduce the process of obtaining permits and thus improve productivity for business. For vessels engaged in international voyages that plan to exit within 24 hours, going through entry and exit procedures on a one-off basis is conducive to facilitate efficient customs clearance; foreign vessels shifting berths among ports in China are free from going through border inspection formalities, facilitating berths shifting and operation among ports by foreign vessels.
In terms of increasing speed, 24/7 customs clearance will be provided for ports and shipping enterprises by port immigration inspection authorities across China, and formalities for vessels engaged in international voyages to enter and exit ports are handled on an on-demand basis, making sure that vessels can operate immediately after they reach the port and leave the port without delay; a filing and registration system is established to ensure fast exit-entry by vehicles and drivers at land ports; credit management system is created to improve the operation efficiency of ship building and repairing enterprises by facilitating embarkation and disembarkation of personnel and anchoring of vessels that are under maintenance.
In terms of improving efficiency, vessels engaged in international voyages are able to apply for and receive pre-inspection and obtain administrative permits of border inspection online; permits for embarking and disembarking foreign vessels and attachment to foreign vessels can be accepted, examined, and signed and issued online; filing procedures of fast customs clearance for cross-border vehicles and drivers in Guangdong, Hong Kong, and Macao are processed online, enabling immigration inspection authorities to share information, leverage the power of technologies and improve quality and efficiency by adopting IT-based approaches.
[CCTV]: What are the thoughts of NIA to decide to involve land ports in most of the 16 new measures introduced this time?
[Jin Weicheng]: Thanks for your question. China's open land ports are connected to 11 neighboring countries, as well as Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and Macao Special Administrative Region. The immigration inspection authorities inspected 14.82 million exit-entry vehicles at land ports in 2020, accounting for 95.5% of China's total exit-entry transportation vehicles, and 103 million exit-entry personnel, accounting for 78.6% of China's total number of exit-entry personnel. The land ports play an essential role in serving the Belt and Road Initiative, advancing coordinated development between different regions, and enhancing communication with neighboring countries and regions.
We set up dedicated channels for major projects and important cooperation programs at relevant land ports to facilitate the exit-entry of relevant cross-border vehicles and drivers. Chinese cross-border freight vehicles and drivers no longer need to fill in the inspection card for motor vehicle's exit and entry after filing records with the immigration inspection authorities. The border inspection mode of "cooperative inspection for one-check release" at the land ports of Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao will be promoted. "Fast tracks" will be opened for entry-exit inspection of commodities, fresh products, anti-pandemic supplies, and the supply of daily necessities.
Multiple approaches including information filing, data interaction, appointment-making inspections and others are adopted to improve the traffic efficiency of vehicles and drivers, avoid traffic congestion of exit-entry vehicles during peak hours and unnecessary physical contacts, and constrain the spread of the COVID-19. After adopting "cooperative inspection for one-check release" to inspect vehicles at mainland land ports adjacent to Macao, it takes only two to three minutes for exit-entry vehicles to go through customs clearance under normal circumstances. During the process, the vehicles can stay on the same lane and line up for validation and collection of biological information for only one time. The implementation of this model is expected to improve the overall vehicle exit-entry efficiency by more than 50%.
The full implementation of these measures will significantly promote the customs clearance efficiency at land ports, increase the import and export volume of goods, and further safeguard the security of China's industrial supply chains.
[Guangming Daily]: What benefits will the 16 new measures bring to the development of port and shipping enterprises?
[Jin Weicheng]: Thanks for your question. NIA unveiled ten new measures to promote the building of the Yangtze Delta Area as a shipping hub on December 14, 2020. The ten measures have yielded great socioeconomic benefits over the past six months. Measures taken to promote the development of the shipping industry are adopted by Chinese ports open to foreign vessels in the 16 new measures introduced for implementation today, which will further unleash dividends on the policy front and bring greater benefits. For example, "to facilitate berth-shifting in China and simplify formalities", foreign vessels shifting berths among ports in China will be free from going through border inspection formalities, and vessels will save one berthing hour for each on average at the ports. In another example, "promote short-term berthing and go through formalities on a one-off basis" saves two hours on average for vessels engaged in international voyages that berth for no more than 24 hours at ports. Take container transportation for example, the above-mentioned two measures are expected to cut berthing fees, labor costs, fuel charges, vessel rentals, bridge crane depreciation costs (by working hour) and other expenses by more than 4 billion yuan each year for relevant shipping enterprises, effectively reducing enterprises' operating and logistics costs.
Moreover, by "processing administrative permits of border inspection at the port in one place and available across the region", permits for embarking and disembarking foreign vessels and attachment to foreign vessels issued by any port border inspection station can then be used at all ports within the province. The number of permits needed is expected to reduce by more than 20%, saving significant amount of time for relevant personnel at different ports.
[The Paper]: These facilitation measures are introduced amid regular pandemic prevention and control. How to deal with the relations between pandemic prevention and control and customs clearance facilitation?
[Liu Haitao]: This is a big concern amid regular pandemic prevention and control. Maintaining port safety and tightening pandemic prevention and control are the prerequisite for introducing the 16 new measures, which are designed to strengthen digital empowerment and introduce smart supervision and sensor-less inspection, involving more data but less useless work, thus improving management efficiency and realizing precise control. At ports, measures should be taken to ensure “no boarding, no attachment and no crew landing" under non-urgent or non-essential circumstances to effectively reduce the spread of the pandemic.
For vessels that will exit within 24 hours after entry, immigration inspection authorities intensified control by monitoring vessels at the port and improving technological measures to reduce unnecessary direct contacts with the crew and to constrain the spread of COVID-19 from imported cases. On the land, we now must guard against imported COVID-19 cases, so in cross-border transportation of goods from neighboring countries at land ports, they are mainly loaded and unloaded in a contactless way by using swap trailers, hoisting, and transferring methods. The above-mentioned operations are meant to involve the same freight vehicles and drivers.
The immigration inspection authorities improve management by adopting "filing records in advance, reporting each time, controlling in real-time, inspecting through videos" and other approaches, ensuring the proper implementation of pandemic prevention and control measures and reducing the spread of COVID-19 from imported cases while facilitating customs clearance.
[Meng Xiaoyuan]: Friends from the press, thank you for attending today's press conference. Due to time limitation we will conclude today's conference. For more interview requests, please contact the Spokesperson's Office of NIA. Thank you.