Regulatory Compliance updates November 2022

November 16, 2022

China plans to set more definite rules for Customs administrative punishment discretion benchmark and open to solicit public opinions

On October 1, the General Administration of Customs issued a notice to solicit public opinions on the Benchmark of Customs Administrative Punishment discretion of the People's Republic of China (I) (Draft). The administrative act was evoked by Article 62 of the Regulations of the Customs of the People's Republic of China on Handling Administrative Punishment Cases, issued by the Order No.250 of the General Administration of Customs and came into effect on July 15,2021, which stipulates that customs may formulate a benchmark of administrative penalty discretion according to law and standardize the exercise of administrative penalty discretion. The benchmark of administrative penalty discretion shall be announced to the public.

The consultation includes the body of the discretionary benchmark, its three annexes and the drafting instructions. The text sets up four chapters: General Provisions, Order of Discretion, Quantity Penalty Standard and Supplementary Provisions:

  • Chapter I General Provisions shall clarify the scope of application of the discretionary benchmark in the field of customs law enforcement and stipulate the basic principles of the discretion of administrative penalty;
  • Chapter II Order of discretion, in the order from light to heavy, is divided into five grades: no punishment, mitigated punishment, lighter punishment, general punishment and heavier punishment;
  • Chapter III Quantity penalty standard, combined with the substantive law penalty rule, stipulates the specific punishment range of smuggling acts, acts in violation of customs supervision regulations, and applying the Solid Waste Prevention and Control Law to deal with illegal acts in cases of different orders;
  • Chapter IV Supplementary Provisions defines the more important concepts and expressions in the discretionary benchmark.
  • The three attachments are respectively- List of "Minor Violation" for Customs Administrative Punishment (I), List of Items of "First Illegal Punishment Exemption" for Customs Administrative Punishment (I), Customs summary procedure and rapid handling of administrative penalty cases discretion benchmark (I)
  • Article 2 of the text of the discretionary benchmark indicates the cases not included in the discretionary benchmark. This discretionary benchmark applies to the customs administrative penalty cases handled in accordance with the Customs Law, the Law on the Prevention and Control of Solid Waste, the Regulations on the Implementation of Customs Administrative Penalties and the relevant customs regulations, except for the inspection and quarantine cases and intellectual property rights cases.

It should be noted that both the text of the discretionary benchmark and the three annexes have the suffix number of "(1)", indicating that not all the discretionary benchmarks are not issued at one time, and there are subsequent benchmarks in the plan.

European Union: The Combined Nomenclature has been updated by the European Commission and is applicable as of 1 January 2023

On Monday 31 October 2022 the European Commission published the updated Combined Nomenclature (CN) for 2023. Update includes the changes description and HTS in chapters 39, 40, 45, 68, 70, 73, 76, 89 etc.,

Council adopted EU single window for customs

The EU adopted the Single Window for customs on the 24th of October, setting the tone for enhanced cooperation between the EU states. The creation of the single window and adoption of the new rules for digital collaboration is set to simplify the enforcement of more than 60 non-customs EU acts as well as national non-customs legislation in areas such as health and safety, the environment, agriculture, fisheries, international heritage and market surveillance at external borders. Member states’ authorities involved in goods clearance at the EU’s external borders will be able to access and exchange electronic information submitted by traders. The single window environment for customs will also support the automated verification of non-customs formalities for goods entering or leaving the EU.

Singapore to Begin Goods and Sales Tax Increase from January 2023

The Minister for Finance announced in Budget 2022 that the GST rate increase will be staggered over two steps:

(i) from 7% to 8% with effect from 1 Jan 2023; and
(ii) from 8% to 9% with effect from 1 Jan 2024.

GST-registered businesses must prepare adequately for the upcoming rate change, such as by updating their invoicing and accounting systems, as well as communicating clearly to customers how the GST increase will impact them.

UK sanctions Russian steel and petrochemical tycoons funding Putin's war

The UK has sanctioned 4 oligarchs who have enabled Putin to mobilise Russian industries to support his military effort. Amongst those sanctioned are Alexander Abramov and Alexander Frolov, who have been targeted for their involvement in the extractive, transport, and construction sectors. The pair, known to be business associates of Roman Abramovich, previously owned major stakes in Russian steel manufacturer Evraz plc, are thought to have an estimated global net worth of £4.1 billion and £1.7 billion respectively, and are reported to have UK property investments worth an estimated £100 million.

Vietnam ends discriminatory treatment against pharmaceutical products from EU Member States

The EU welcomes the removal by Vietnam, of discrimination against a number of EU Member States' regulatory authorities for pharmaceutical products. This positive result for EU industry and Vietnamese citizens shows the value of having a free trade agreement with Vietnam. It is the result of months of continuous efforts by the European Commission and constructive engagement with the Vietnamese authorities. Pharmaceuticals from all EU member states will now see simpler and faster registration procedures and easier participation in government procurement. This will allow better market access for EU pharmaceutical products to Vietnam, greatly benefitting Vietnamese consumers in terms of access to medicines. EU pharmaceutical exports to Vietnam are worth EUR 1.5 billion a year, contributing to EU jobs and economic resilience. The EU calls on Vietnam to also ensure a more transparent and predictable system of marketing authorisations without delay.

With the entry into force on 20 October 2022 of Circular 08/2022/TT-BYT (Circular 8), Vietnam now fully recognises the EU Single Market for pharmaceuticals and the unity of the EU regulatory framework.

In future, all EU producers will be treated equally, including pharmaceutical companies established in Spain, Poland, Italy and Hungary, which were previously facing longer and more burdensome approval processes because of difference in the treatment of EU Member States’ regulatory authorities.


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