Responding to COVID-19: Cross-border trade measures and Insights

As the influence from the COVID-19 outbreak expands across territories, industries and professions, so do the measures affecting the cross-border movements of goods. We are working closely as a network of Trade and Customs specialists to share with you updates to such measures in the Asia Pacific region, as well as our insights into some commonly encountered challenges.

Insights to business impacts of COVID-19

Impacts and Challenges Insights

Cash flow and liquidity concern

Many businesses are facing severe cash flow and liquidity issues with dropped sales and fixed overheads. Customs duties and other import taxes (e.g. consumption tax or sales tax) are either a cost to businesses or a cash flow challenge.

Immediate opportunities to be explored include potential temporary duty waivers or exemptions introduced to help tie companies over. Also, some countries are experimenting with allowing periodic payment of customs duties, rather than immedite payment upon clearance of goods. Additionally, many countries allow payment of recoverable taxes (such as import VAT) to be deferred, either as a COVID-19 relief measure or as a permanent option. All these options can have immediate saving effects on costs and / or cash flow.

From a longer term perspective, importers should consider sustainable customs savings opportunities. From a duty perspective, this can include Free Trade Agreement (FTA) utilisation, customs valuation unbundling, tariff code planning etc.

Essential goods export consideration

Exports of essential goods such as medical supplies and agricultural products are put under restraints in some countries. The restraints can be in the form of outright bans, export quotas, export license requirements or similar.

It may not be easy for a manufacturer of these products to divert export focused production to customers in domestic markets, for reasons such as product characteristics, standards or labelling, to name but some examples. It is therefore always worthwhile to talk to the regulators to try and obtain individual exemptions from such export restrictions. Although governments want to secure sufficient supplies for their own populations, they are also acutely aware of the pain that their economies are going through. Hence they are unlikely to want their manufacturers and exporters to suffer unnecessarily, and add to the pain of their domestic workforce.

Measures may or may not be driven by applied tariff classification codes, and it would be wise for exporters to review and validate such codes, so that any applicable restrictions are not accidentally avoided, nor unnecessarily applied.

Maintenance of incentive status

Many companies have obtained authorisations or been given government incentives to promote the creation of export driven economic activity. This would include the use of special economic zones as well designated facilities aimed at production or processing for export. In most cases, such facilities come with various requirements, such as export targets or required entity ranking. It may not be possible during this time to meet these requirements. Export restrictions, the closure of borders, or reduced manufacturing capacity may reduce the absolute or relative level of exports, in turn leading to a company missing its targets. 

It is not in any territory's interest to undermine foreign investment during times of economic stress. The various agencies, such as Boards of Investment, will look beyond the immediate crisis to safeguard future economic activity once the immediate crisis recedes. Companies withdrawing from the market during this period may not return in a hurry. It is therefore worthwhile for companies operating under these incentive schemes to explore opportunities with investment agencies and even reach out to the customs authorities policing the related requirements, to relax various conditions under these testing circumstances. Buying the organisations some time to meet the necessary targets.

Customs clearance disruptions for non-essential goods

Customs resources on non-essential goods handling are distracted by COVID-19, either as a result of quarantine measures or prioritisation to clear essential goods. Consequently, clearance of non-essential goods can be suspended, granted “provisionally” or with minimum oversight.

Understanding the likely treatment of imports and exports at this time is essential for any supply chain manager to avoid unnecessary surprises. If there are likely disruptions to clearance, prior discussion with the customs authorities may enable some mutually acceptable resolutions to be found. If goods are cleared without the usual level of oversight, it is more likely that a future customs audit will review such imports in more detail, hence ensuring closer oversight and retention of all related clearance documentation is more important than ever. Longer term, importers and exporters could explore priority clearance programmes, such as AEOs, to enable priority treatment during future crisis.

Challenges in Free Trade Agreement utilisation - ability in obtaining Certificate of Origin

The ability to obtain a Certificate of Origin from the issuing authorities, or have them validate manufacturing cost statements, may be negatively impacted due to lack of resources or restriction of on-site visits for the relevant officers. Preferential treatments in the importing country will hence be negatively impacted.

Many countries have been introducing electronic means of issuing certificates of origin, albeit it often still on a voluntary basis. Exporters should explore the possibility to use such systems. Alternatively, if products have to be exported without a certificate of origin, most Free Trade Agreements have provisions that allow retrospective applications for certificates of origin to be made within a year from the date of export (and usually to be presented in the destination country within a year from the date of import). This way, the right to claim refunds from the customs authorities in the importing countries can be reserved.

Regulatory and news update

Key message Effective period
The Government has introduced a Temporary By-Law providing tariff relief on a range of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and medical items. The Temporary By-Law will cover Item 57 to Schedule 4 of the Customs Tariff Act 1995 (Customs Tariff Act) provides a Free rate of customs duty for hygiene or medical products imported to treat, diagnose or prevent the spread of the coronavirus that causes the disease COVID-19. Use of the Item and by-law will not affect other taxes and charges that may be payable on the imported goods. The goods must meet the requirements of the item to access the concessional rate of customs duty. for the period of 01/02/2020 to 31/07/2020
Non-commercial export of certain goods that help in the control of COVID-19 is temporarily prohibited. This includes personal protective equipment and sanitisers. There are exemptions but certain conditions have to be met before these goods can be exported. 08/03/2020 for 3 months
The Trade Minister announced a new AUD 170 million COVID-19 rescue package aimed at providing relief to Australia's export sector. The package includes a $110 million International Freight Assistance Mechanism designed to assist Australia’s agriculture and fisheries sectors in securing freight flights into major Asia Pacific export markets, with returning flights bringing back vital medical supplies, medicines and equipment. AUD 50 million will also be injected into the Export Market Development Grants, allowing exporters to claim additional reimbursements for the costs associated with marketing and developing their products in new markets.  
Key message Effective period
Additional trade-war tariff is temporarily waived for selected US originated goods. This mainly covers goods in need for COVID-19 handling. 01/01/2020 - 31/03/2020
Extend the applicable scope of Interim Measures for Exemption of Import tax on Charitable Donations and for the import taxes already paid, it could be returned. 01/01/2020 - 31/03/2020
In regard to COVID-19 related donations, goods satisfying certain requirements and fall under the published scope are exempted from import taxes, including import duty, VAT and consumption tax. This also extends to US originated goods and their additional import duty. For those who has imported with import taxes paid, an application for refund can be made to Customs. 01/01/2020 - 31/03/2020
Customs allow enterprise to delay tax payment without late payment fee. The import tax payment deadline is now postponed to 15 days after the date of resumption of work announced by each Province. 03/02/2020
Consignee/consignor does not need to physically attend Customs inspection during the epidemic period. Notification needs to be provided to Customs (through email or other ways) in advance for the absence and warehouse operator or forwarder can support the inspection as appropriate. 11/02/2020
Green channel is opened for essential goods, including drugs, sanitizing supplies, protection supplies, medical equipment, etc. Green channel grants faster customs clearance or even goods release before declaration and license submission. For example, medical materials subject to national permission/license can be released upon approval from medical department, and the permission/license application formality can be conducted after goods release. 25/01/2020
Imported medical and epidemic prevention goods will enjoy a simpified inspection process 25/01/2020
For temporary import and export goods reaching its time limitation but cannot be re-exported/imported due to COVID-19, further extension can be applied by the consignee/consignor. 13/03/2020
Enterprise engaged in processing trade can apply extension for formalities affected by COVID-19, e.g. handbook reconciliation, etc. 06/02/2020
All personnel entered into China shall fill in the "People's Republic of China exit/entry health declaration card" and cooperate with temperature monitoring, medical inspection, medical inspection and other health and quarantine work. 25/01/2020
Enterprises exporting Coronavirus test kit, medical masks, medical protective clothing, ventilators, and infrared thermometers must provide medical device registration certificate and promise the exported goods satisfy the quality standards of importing country. 31/03/2020
This announcement has stipulated several new requirements for exporting non-surgical mask as well as medical suppliers like surgical masks, medical protective clothing and etc. which have already obtained oversea certification/registration with an aim to strengthen supervision over the quality of epidemic prevention materials. 25/04/2020
11 medical products under 19 HS codes will be subjected to export commodity inspection. 10/04/2020
Key message Effective period
Extension allowed for concessional customs duty benefit under Free Trade Agreements on retrospective basis subject to subsequent furnishing of Certificate of Origin by the exporter.
 
Decrease of import tariffs (from 10% to 5%) on medical or surgical instruments and apparatus (HS 9018; 9019; 9020; 9021; 9022) 01/04/2020
Imports of certain medical and surgical instruments and apparatus (HS 9018; 9019; 9020; 9021; 9022) exempted from the "health cess" 01/04/2020
Waiver of late fees levied on delayed filing of Bills of Entry  
Provisional clearance of goods imported under claim of preferential benefit against an FTA where the original hard copy of CoO has not been submitted or only digitally signed copy or unsigned copy of CoO is submitted  
Unable to issue the Certificate of Origin due to lockdown. Retrospective COO issuance will be available once the designated agencies are reopened. 28/03/2020
Finalisation of prior and advance Bill of Entry, amendment and delivery of Bill of Entry for cleared goods by email. Endorsement and acknowledgement will also be completed over emails.  
Warehousing permission without demurrage charges for cargo where importers are facing difficulties in clearance  
Extension of export realisation period to 15 months for exports made up till 31 July 2020 inclusive  
Exemption up till 30 September 2020 for exporters on the caution list for non-closure of export documentation due to pending export realisation
 
Relaxation from furnishing bonds prescribed for provisional assessment, warehousing and specific clearances under bond including exemption notification to specified importers till 15 May 2020  
Issuance of Electronic Communication of PDF based Gatepass and Out of Charge (OoC) Copy of Bill of Entry to Custom Brokers/Importers for clearance of cargo  
The government issued export restriction on specific Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (APIs), formulations from these APIs; personal protection equipment (PPE) including clothing and masks. Certain items and equipments are exempted from the export restriction such as surgical / disposable masks, gloves except NBR gloves, etc. Export restriction of PPE and masks
25/02/2020
Export restriction of APIs and formulations
03/03/2020
Alcohol based hand santizers under ITC HS 3004, 3401, 3402 and 38094 are prohibited for export.Earlier all sanitzers were prohibited for export  
Relaxation on the restriction of export of Paracetamol including Fixed Dose Combination (FDC) of Paracetamol (classified under ITC HS 30049099). However, Paracetamol APIs continue to remain restricted for exports  
Amendments introduced to the import policy of iron and steel and incorporation of policy condition in HS Chapters 72; 73; 86, Schedule-I (import policy), resulting in an extension of validity to 135 days to automatic registration number generated under the Steel Import Monitoring System "SIMS" until 31 March 2020, 31/03/2020
Furnishing of Registration Cum Membership Certificate for claiming export benefits, where the validity has expired on or before 31 March 2020, has been waived until 30 September 2020 Until 30/09/2020
Extension is allowed for export benefits and export incentive schemes.  
Extension of timeline for Export Oriented Units and Special Economic Zone Units to file specific statutory reports.  
Deadline extended to many customs activities, including appeals filing, refund applications, furnishing of reports, documents, returns or statements etc, under the Central Excise Act and Customs Act for the period of 20 March 2020 to 29 June 2020, to 30 June 2020. Refer to Taxation and Other Laws (Relaxation of certain provisions) Ordinance 2020 dated 31 March 2020  
Waiver of certain logistics charges for specified period. This include demurrage charges payable at Air Cargo Terminals, detention charges on import and export consignments, and detention charges by shipping lines.  
Facility of filing application in prescribed format through email and electronic payment of fee for grant of permits issuance of Free Sale and Commerce certificate for export of items not covered under Drugs & Cosmetics Act, 1940,. The licensing authorities are advised to issue the certificate on email without submission of a hard copy.
 
Guidelines for conducting e-hearing/ virtual hearing in Customs matter  
Importers of metallic scrap and waste are required to furnish Pre-Inspection Certificate for customs clearances. However, due to present lock down, the importer are finding it difficult to furnish the certificate in original for clearances. Given the above DGFT has clarifed that a scanned copy of the document can be accepted for customs clearance. However, the importer would need provide an undertaking to the Customs authorities in prescribed format. The original copy needs to be submitted within 60 days of the clearance. Upto 30/06/2020
Revision of import free time for cargo between 25 March 2020 to 7 April 2020 by the logistic service provider
 
Key message Effective period
In order to prevent the spread of COVID-19, Director General of Customs and Excise issues a new circulating letter that exempts excise on the distribution of ethyl alcohol by the manufacturer or stockpiling entrepreneur of ethyl alcohol based on the order from the government agencies and non-government organizations related to the countermeasures of COVID-19. 17/03/2020 - until further notice
Director General of Customs and Excise together with the National Disaster Management Authority has issued a new regulation that gives guidelines for a relaxation in the import process (which may also include an exemption of import duty and import taxes) of the personal protective equipment required by government agencies and/or non-government agencies. 20/03/2020 - until further notice
Ministry of Finance grants import duty and taxes exemption on goods for countermeasures of Covid-19 outbreak. The goods are listed in the Attachment A of MoF regulation number 34/PMK.04/2020. The party who can enjoy this incentive is an individual, the central government, the regional government, a legal entity or a non-legal entity by obtaining an exemption approval from Customs Authorities. The incentives are applicable for the said goods not only those imported from overseas or bonded logistics centre, but also goods bought from bonded zone, free trade zone, bonded warehouse, special economic zone and KITE (Import Facility for Export Purpose) companies. Further, there will be no clawback of import duty and taxes for those companies in bonded zone, etc. who sell the goods to a party with exemption approval. 17/04/2020 - until further notice
Ministry of Finance grants an exemption for Bonded Zone Company to import personal protective equipments to support its productivity. In addition, the Ministry also provides a relaxation of local sales quota. 13/04/2020 - until further notice
- KITE Company with Exemption Facility and Small & Medium Industry (IKM) Facility can (i) enter goods from domestic for further process or combined with the KITE products of which the local VAT uncollected, (ii) can have local sales maximum 50% of the last year's export value realization, and (iii) can deliver its products related to the handling of COVID-19 to the government or to the party that enjoys import duty and tax exemption without decreasing its local sales quota.

- KITE Company with Exemption Facility can deliver the goods to KITE IKM Facility for further process or combined with its products with import duty and VAT/STLG exemption.

-KITE Exemption and KITE Drawback Facility can deliver goods to Bonded Zone with import duty and VAT/STLG exemption and be regarded as export sales.
13/04/2020 - until further notice
Ministry of Finance issued a new regulation that provides some tax incentives for taxpayers during COVID-19. One of the tax incentives is Prepaid Income Tax Article 22 uncollected for goods imported by certain business players as regulated under this regulation or any business players who have obtained an Import Facility For Export Purposes (Kemudahan Import Tujuan Ekspor/"KITE") or Bonded Zone facility including goverment agencies or non-goverment organization which is appointed by the government agencies. 01/04/2020 - 30/09/2020
To accommodate the use of Certificate of Origin to enjoy a preferential import duty during the COVID-19 situation, the Director General of Customs and Excise exempts importers from submitting the original document during clearance process and requires them to submit it through online systems. 30/03/2020 - until further notice (by referring to DGCE circular letter)

30/04/2020 - until further notice (by referring to MOF regulation)
To minimize the spread of COVID-19 within the Directorate General of Customs and Excise, the Director General recommends staff to work from home and do the process clearance or other activities including monitoring excise tape through online systems 27/03/2020 - until further notice
Ministry of Finance gives additional days for postponement of excise payment. In common situation, the postponement is 60 days, but for the excise tape ordering document with postponement submitted from 9 April to 9 July 2020, the postponement is 90 days. 09/04/2020 - 09/07/2020
To protect the public, the government has waived import restrictions applied on certain products such as
1. masks, thermometers and other personal protective equipment. In addition;
2. onions and garlic; and
3. second hand goods under HS Code 9019.20.00 and 9020.00.00
18/03/2020 - 31/05/2020 (for onion and garlic)

23/03/2020 - 30/06/2020 (for other certain products)

02/04/2020 - 30/06/2020
(for second hand goods)
Temporary export ban on antiseptic, raw materials to fabricate masks, personal protective equipment (PPE), ethyl alcohol and masks (in HS Chapters 22; 30; 38; 56; 62; 63) 18/03/2020 - 30/06/2020
To stop the spread of COVID-19, the Tax Court Office also stop any activities including receiving any appeal letter (except by post), conducting a Hearing, and others. All activities are initially postponed from 17 March 2020 until 21 April 2020 based on SE-03, but this period is extended to 23 April 2020 by SE-04. 17/03/2020 - 13/05/2020 (but it can be extended by further notice)
To accommodate the use of Certificate of Origin to enjoy a preferential import duty during the COVID-19 situation, Ministry of Finance exempts importers from submitting the original document during clearance process and requires them to submit it through online systems. In addition, there are certain relaxation on the validity of the Certificate of Origin which are: 1) the use of electronic signatures and/or stamps; 2) the existances of Exporter's signatures; and 3) the existance of Overleaf notes, which are stipulated in DGCE's Circular Letter number SE-10/BC/2020.

30/03/2020 - until further notice (by referring to DGCE circular letter)

30/04/2020 - until further notice (by referring to MOF regulation and DGCE circular letter)

To stop the spread of COVID-19, the Tax Court Office also stop any activities including receiving any appeal letter (except by post), conducting a Hearing, and others. All activities are initially postponed from 17 March 2020 until 21 April 2020 based on SE-03, but this period is extended to 1 June 2020 by SE-06. Any submission deadline within the COVID-19 period will be extended up to 77 days (the example can be found in SE-08). The hearing session and administration process will be opened again on 2 June 2020 with certain limitation such as total participants during the Hearing, treatment on the documentation that will be submitted, etc - in accordance to SE-07. 17/03/2020 - 01/06/2020 (but it can be extended by further notice)
Key message Effective period
RELIEF SUPPLIES - For COVID related supplies provided free of charge (donated), duty and JCT are waived. The goods are also subject to simplified clearance. From 04/03/2020
Customs will be flexible in extending the deadlines for delayed Certificates of Origin and security bonds for duty deferral applications. From 04/03/2020
Importers and exporters can choose to declare goods at a more convenient Customs office if they are unable to complete the relevant goods declaration at the required Customs office
From 04/03/2020
RELIEF SUPPLIES - For COVID related supplies provided free of charge (donated), the goods are subject to simplified clearance and are duty and JCT free. From 04/03/2020
SUPPORT FOR RELOCATING PRODUCTION - As part of its COVID Stimulus bill, the Japanese government plans to provide USD 2.1 billion to support Japanese companies in relocating production back to Japan to avoid dependency on any single external country. Support is also provided for "supply chain diversification" to ASEAN countries through monetary support to the ASEAN Economic Ministers-METI Economic and Industrial Cooperation Committee (AMEICC). DRAFT BILL
as of
10/04/2020
Extension application allowed for METI-issued licenses, and application submission can be explanation letter on the reasons. Extension can also be applied for import tariff quota licenses and export licenses. The deadline for fulfilment of certain conditions for export licenses have also been automatically extend to 30 June 2020. Until 30/06/2020
Japanese Prime Minister announced that the State of Emergency was extended to the whole country. 16/04/2020
Japan Prime Minister plans to proclaim a State of Emergency for 7 prefectures in Japan, including Tokyo, Kanagawa and Osaka, Saitama, Fukuoka, Chiba, Hyogo.

This could lead to closure of non-essential branches such as valuation, audit and others.
07/04/2020
Reductions, refunds, and exemptions for customs fees for certain inspections and certificates. From 11/05/2020
Japan Customs is accepting applications for extensions for various customs-related procedures, such as payment of customs duties & JCT. From 11/05/2020
The State of Emergency was lifted for many smaller prefectures.
Still in effect for: Tokyo, Osaka, Hokkaido, Kyoto, Kanagawa, Saitama, Chiba, and Hyogo
This includes the ports of: Tokyo, Yokohama, Chiba, Narita Airport, Kansai Airport, Hakodate, Osaka, and Kobe
14/05/2020
Reductions, refunds, and exemptions for customs fees for certain inspections and certificates. From 11/05/2020
Japan Customs is accepting applications for extensions for various customs-related procedures, such as payment of customs duties & JCT. From 11/05/2020
The State of Emergency was lifted for many smaller prefectures. Still in effect for: Tokyo, Osaka, Hokkaido, Kyoto, Kanagawa, Saitama, Chiba, and Hyogo This includes the ports of: Tokyo, Yokohama, Chiba, Narita Airport, Kansai Airport, Hakodate, Osaka, and Kobe 14/05/2020
Key message Effective period
Import duty and sales tax exemption are given to face masks (under HS code 6307.90). 23/03/2020 until further notice by Ministry of Finance
Import duty and sales tax exemption is given to Personal Protective Equipment and consumables that are used to handle COVID. 25/03/3030 until further notice by Ministry of Finance
Manufacturers of hand sanitizer (under HS code of 3808.94.9000) can apply for exemption of import duty, excise duty and sales tax on the purchase of raw materials undenatured ethyl alcohol and denatured ethyl alcohol.

30/03/2020 until further notice by Ministry of Finance
Import duty and sales tax exemption is given on imported and locally purchased machinery and equipment that are used directly on the port operations.
01/04/2020 - 31/03/2023
The submission of any return and payment of any sales and service tax which has a deadline of 31 March 2020 will have that deadline extended until 30 April 2020. Full remission of penalties will be given if the return is submitted by extended deadline.
16/03/2020 - 14/04/2020
Malaysia Customs has issued an updated notice to inform that payment of any levy, sales, service, tourism and departure tax which has a deadline of 31 March 2020 or 30 April 2020 is further extended until 12 May 2020.

The full amount of penalty for payment of any levy or tax arising from the submission of the following returns or declaration which have an original deadline of 31 March 2020 or 30 April 2020 will be remitted if the payment is received before 13 May 2020.

14/04/2020 - 12/05/2020
Alternative way for Malaysian companies to seek endorsement of the Preferential Certificate of Origin (CO) under the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) schemes (other than ASEAN Trade in Goods Agreement (ATIGA)).

30/03/2020 - 14/04/2020
Movement Control Order (MCO) enacted on 16 March will be extended to 14 April 2020. During this MCO period, all customs’ operations and services in ports, airports as well as entry and exit points in the country will continue with minimal officers or staff. In addition, clearance of essential goods will be given priority.

16/03/2020 - 14/04/2020
Temporary Closure of nine (9) Thailand – Malaysia land and sea borders by Thai Government 22/03/2020 until further notice
Selected critical industries are allowed to operate during the MCO period, subject to approval by the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) and conditions stipulated in the letter of approval.
16/03/2020 - 14/04/2020
Temporary export ban on face masks (HS 6307.90.40; 6307.90.90), due to the COVID19 pandemic 03/03/2020
The Director General of Customs accepts requests to review the decision made by the customs authority during MCO. Applications may be submitted to the Director General of Customs via email within 30 days from the issuance date of the decision made by the customs authority. 03/04/2020 until further notice by the Ministry of Finance
Penalties imposed on notice of assessment (bill of demand) which is eligible for remission during the MCO period will be remitted by Malaysia Customs.  
Electronic endorsement of the Preferential Certificate of Origin (PCO) by affixing electronic signature and official seal through the ePCO system, starting with Form MJEPA, Form AANZ, Form AHK, Form AK and Form D will be implemented by MITI. Exporters will no longer need to be physically present at the MITI Service Counter for manual endorsement.

13/04/2020 until further notice
Electronic endorsement of the PCO during the Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) only applies for Form AK, Form AANZ, Form AHKFTA and Form MJEPA. Paper-based endorsement for Form D will be hold off until the new Operational Certification Procedure takes effect (estimated 1 Sept 2020).
4/05/2020 until further notice
Latest procedures for endorsement of the PCO under the FTA schemes during the CMCO period is implemented to ensure all import and export activities with the FTA partner countries and the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) donor countries can be continued. 04/05/2020 until further notice
The Director General of Customs accepts requests to review the decision made by the customs authority during MCO. Applications may be submitted to the Director General of Customs via email within 30 days from the issuance date of the decision made by the customs authority. 03/04/2020 until further notice by the Ministry of Finance
Penalties imposed on notice of assessment (bill of demand) which is eligible for remission during the MCO period will be remitted by Malaysia Customs.  
Electronic endorsement of the Preferential Certificate of Origin (PCO) by affixing electronic signature and official seal through the ePCO system, starting with Form MJEPA, Form AANZ, Form AHK, Form AK and Form D will be implemented by MITI. Exporters will no longer need to be physically present at the MITI Service Counter for manual endorsement. 13/04/2020 until further notice
Electronic endorsement of the PCO during the Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) only applies for Form AK, Form AANZ, Form AHKFTA and Form MJEPA. Paper-based endorsement for Form D will be hold off until the new Operational Certification Procedure takes effect (estimated 1 Sept 2020). 4/05/2020 until further notice
Latest procedures for endorsement of the PCO under the FTA schemes during the CMCO period is implemented to ensure all import and export activities with the FTA partner countries and the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) donor countries can be continued. 04/05/2020 until further notice
Key message Effective period
On 27 April 2020, the Government of Myanmar issued a comprehensive economic stimulus plan called COVID-19 Economic Relief Plan (CERP) which includes the waiver of customs duties and commercial tax related to the importation of critical medical supplies and products related to the prevention, control and treatment of COVID-19. To be announced
MOPFI issued a notification that allows the submission of Form D electronically (e-Form D). 24/03/2020 - 30/04/2020

MOPFI issued notifications that relaxed the submission of original documents for import declaration for companies that apply for preferential duty rates. Copies of import declaration documents can be submitted, and the original documents would need to be submitted within a month after collection of the declared goods.

01/04/2020 - 31/05/2020

The issuance of import and export licenses of more than 150 (now 815 effective from 23 April 2020) (essential) goods will be processed online. Companies must complete their application forms on Myanmar Trade Net.

01/04/2020
08/04/2020
23/04/2020
MOC issued a notification that reduced the import license fee to MMK 30,000 (USD 20). 06/042020 - 30/09/2020
MOC issued a notification that exempts traders from import license fees for all medicines and medicinal raw materials. 11/04/2020
As part of the CERP, the process for the importation of medical-related products for COVID-19 prevention, control and treatment would be expedited and facilitated. To be announced
As part of the CERP, there is a waiver of import licensing and FDA requirements, as long as the products are FDA approved in another country. To be announced
As part of CERP, in relation to the importation of key medical products, immediate import required medical-related products for COVID-19 prevention, control and treatment of COVID-19 (including but not limited to masks, PPE, drugs, ventilators, ICU equipment, cardiovascular support tools) from suppliers that have no negative track record are exempted from going through a lengthy procurement process. To be announced
MOPFI announced that the 2% advance income tax on exports will be exempted until the end of the financial year 2019-2020 (ending 30 September 2020). 18/03/2020 - 30/09/2020
Importers and exporters with a registration that expires between 27 April 2020 to 30 July 2020 can apply for a temporary extension through an online registration system. 24/04/2020 - 31/07/2020
As part of the CERP, specific goods tax would be waived for critical medical supplies and products related to the prevention, control and treatment of COVID-19. To be announced
As part of the CERP, to facilitate exportation processes, all export applications, licenses and permits would be reviewed, and those that are not required to maintain market access or to protect health, safety and security would be removed. To be announced
As part of the CERP, to facilitate rice exports, farmers would maintain incentives to plant this planting season. To be announced
Key message Effective period
Remission of interest and penalties
Interest and penalties may be imposed from a NZ Customs' systems perspective but, on full payment of the core debt, interest and penalties arising from COVID-19 circumstances should be remitted.
Affected importers should contact NZ Customs (revenue@customs.govt.nz) as early as possible to agree on a duty payment instalment arrangement and to request interest and penalty remission on settlement of the core debt.
The duration of relief will depend on the hardship being suffered by the duty payer and must be negotiated with NZ Customs.
Applies to interest and penalties arising on or after 25/03/2020 for two years
Soap, of a kind suitable for use in the COVID-19 (Heading 3401), and COVID-19 testing kit; Diagnostic reagents, of a kind suitable for COVID-19 testing are now duty-exempted.  
Temporary reduction of import tariffs on all medical and hygiene products, due to the COVID-19 pandemic  
NZ-Singapore declaration to remove import duty from PPE equipment, medical equipment, nutritional products, medicines and hygiene supplies imported into New Zealand from any country. 16/04/2020 onwards
Flexibility on settlement of deferred payment accounts
Import duty deferred payment accounts will not be immediately cancelled (as is normal practice) if payment cannot be made. NZ Customs is willing to work with affected businesses to negotiate deferred payment terms. Affected importers should contact NZ Customs (revenue@customs.govt.nz) as early as possible.
 
Movement of "non-essential" goods from the port or business' own customs controlled area (CCA) requires approval from both NZ Customs and Ministry of Primary Industries. Approval will only be granted where movement is required to ease congestion.  
Only "essential businesses" may operate. If unsure, businesses are encouraged to close until they can clarify their status. Essential businesses are required to operate with appropriate practices to minimise the risk of spreading COVID-19.  
Use of ethanol by a licensed manufacturer to produce hand sanitiser should not result in an excise liability. Manufacturers should retain records to evidence the use of the ethanol for this purpose.  
NZ Customs dealing with excise remission or refund opportunities on a case-by-case basis for alcohol manufacturing licensees who have sold stock to customers who are unable to pay and therefore the stock has been recalled and likely will be disposed of.  
In addition to removing tariffs on essential goods, the NZ-Singapore declaration also undertakes to keep trade in food and beverages flowing by not imposing export restrictions and giving the option to participating countries to also remove tariffs on these goods.  
Key message Effective period
Imported medical supplies and equipment needed to address COVID-19 outbreak are tax & duty free. Raw materials of health-related equipment and supplies imported by local manufacturers will also benefit from duty and tax exemptions. 23/03/2020
On top of the regular customs duty, an additional 10% tax is ordered on importation of crude oil and refined petroleum products to the Philippines. The purpose of increasing tax collection is to supplement the government's fund on COVID-18 response. 02/05/2020
Transacting public will can now electronically transmit support documents to BOC client.customs.gov.ph.

15/03/2020

Extended validity of accreditations of stakeholders (importers, customs brokers, others) that expire during the quarantine period.
Reduced clearance processing turn-around time:

23/03/2020

Filling of Import declaration within 2 days from shipment arrival Importer
Assesment of declaration and taxes within 24 hours Customs
Payment of taxes within 24 hours Importer
Pull out containers within 3 days Importer
Food and health related supplies and equipment were placed as low-risk criteria in customs selectivity system
Export oriented enterprises are allowed to operate but will have to provide their employees with an on-site or near-site accommodation, or point-to-point shuttle services. 11/04/2020
Reduced processing time to secure commodity import licenses for food, and health related supplies and equipment 23/03/2020
Export requirement for export-oriented companies producing health-related products has been suspended. 80% of their daily production output that are sold for local domestic use will be treated as export sale. 01/04/2020
Suspension of seizure and forfeiture proceedings in all customs port was extended until the end of the community quarantine in May 15. The suspension order was first issued only to effect until April 12. 23/04/2020
Extension of Enhanced Community Quarantine was made until May 15, 2020 implemented in many cities and provinces in the country. This includes the National Capital Region where the central business districts are located. 01/05/2020

The community quarantine that was supposed to end on May 15 has been extended for another 15 days with relaxation to some sectors to partially operate. The new quarantine extension will take effect on May 16 to May 31, 2020 in Metro Manila, Laguna, and Cebu. 

In addition to the previously authorized essential goods and services sectors, cement, steel, mining, e-commerce, export-oriented companies, real-state, telecom, utilities, financial, legal and accounting are among the sectors allowed to partially operate with 50% capacity from the May 16. Large-scale construction will be also be allowed to continue. 

However, public transportation is still unauthorized to resume. 

16/05/2020
The community quarantine that was supposed to end on May 15 has been extended for another 15 days with relaxation to some sectors to partially operate. The new quarantine extension will take effect on May 16 to May 31, 2020 in Metro Manila, Laguna, and Cebu. In addition to the previously authorized essential goods and services sectors, cement, steel, mining, e-commerce, export-oriented companies, real-state, telecom, utilities, financial, legal and accounting are among the sectors allowed to partially operate with 50% capacity from the May 16. Large-scale construction will be also be allowed to continue. However, public transportation is still unauthorized to resume. 16/05/2020
Key message Effective period
Customs duties for certain alcohol products (mainly medicated samsu and other samsu) have been reduced to $0/L of alcohol. 15/04/2020
Key message Effective period
Importers and exporters located within "Special Disaster Zones" including Daegu and North Gyeongsang Province may submit drawback application electronically and receive on-the-day duty refund. 19/03/2020
Importers and exporters located within "Special Disaster Zones" including Daegu and North Gyeongsang Province may defer customs payments or make installment payments for up to one year. 19/03/2020
Importers who wish to apply FTA tariff rates on their imported goods but are not able to obtain the certificate of origin due to customs office closures in the originating country may defer customs payment for up to 1 year. 27/04/2020
For importers who wish to obtain preferential treatment under Asia-Pacific Trade Agreement, etc. but are not able to obtain the certificate of origin due to customs office closures in the originating country, the goods may be temporarily repeased with the import clearance and tax payments deferred. In this case, the importers need to submit the certificate of origin within 30 days from the date on which the custos office in the originating country reopens to obtain the preferential treatment. 27/04/2020
Electronic submission of country of origin certificates is permitted for application of FTA preferential tariff rates. 25/03/2020
Country of origin certificate is issued immediately to certified exporters and Authorized Economic Operators without paper review. Exporters may submit a copy of origin certificate the customs to request a modification to the country of origin certificate which has already been issued; the original certificate may be submitted in 3 months from the date of modification. On-site visit by the customs to manufacturing sites is temporarily suspended when exporters request issuance of country of origin certificate. 08/04/2020
For the import of key automobile parts imported as urgent air freight cargoes, the shipping costs as part of the customs value may be requested by applying ship freight costs instead of air freight costs. From 05/02/2020 until the COVID-19 alert level decreases to "Caution"
For importers who wish to apply the FTA tariff rates post-importation, the request for FTA refund in general needs to be made within 1 year of importation. For the importers who are not able to obtain the certificate of origin due to customs office closures in the originating country may request for refund of customs duties within 2 years from the date of importation. 27/04/2020
Fast track customs clearance process is available for import of 44 existing chemical products related to COVID-19. 18/03/2020
Taxpayers may request for postponement or deferral of customs audits and/or FTA origin verification audits. 19/03/2020
Customs will communicate with other countries via email to expedite the process of origin verification requests. 25/03/2020
In response to the significant decrease in sales in the travel retail sector, Korea Customs Service temporarily permits import of the goods in the bonded warehouse to be imported for sale in the Korean market. 29/04/2020
Key message Effective period
Temporary reduction of general tariff rates from 20% to10% on other undenatured ethyl alcohol of an alcoholic strength by volume exceeding 90% vol under CCC 2207.1090.22.0 (only applicable to those imported as production material of medicinal alcohol - approval from Ministry of Health and Welfare need to be presented to customs), and from 10% to 0% on masks of textile materials under CCC 6307.9050.  Until 26/05/2020
Thermometers under CCC 9025.19.90.10-1 will not be allowed to be exported from Taiwan without prior approval from the Bureau of Foreign Trade of the Ministry of Economic Affairs.  
Restriction on exporting masks of textile materials under CCC 6307.9050.19.7 and 6307.9050.29.5 Until 30/04/2020
Taiwan Customs Administration proposed (pending approval expected in the middle of May 2020) to include the impact of COVID 19 as an eligible reason prescribed in Art. 52 of the Enforcement Rules of Customs Act, for companies to apply for refund of import duty on goods consumed in manufacturing exported goods. If approved, the application period for refunding the said import duty may be extended from 18 months to 30 months. To be determined
Taiwan Customs Administration clarifies in a news release that reduction of demand from the impact of COVID 19 qualifies as a reason to apply for the extension of the 2-year maximum storge period of goods in bonded warehouse. Existing regulation
Taiwan Customs Administration proposed (pending approval expected in the middle of May 2020) to include the impact of COVID 19 as an eligible reason prescribed in Art. 52 of the Enforcement Rules of Customs Act, for companies to apply for refund of import duty on goods consumed in manufacturing exported goods. If approved, the application period for refunding the said import duty may be extended from 18 months to 30 months. To be determined
Taiwan Customs Administration clarifies in a news release that reduction of demand from the impact of COVID 19 qualifies as a reason to apply for the extension of the 2-year maximum storge period of goods in bonded warehouse. Existing regulation
The impact of COVID 19 can be an eligible reason for companies to apply for refund of import duty on goods consumed in manufacturing exported goods, after an recent amendment of Art. 52 of the Enforcement Rules of Customs Act. 20/05/2020
Key message Effective period
Respirators and surgical masks classified in 6307.90.40 and 6307.90.90 sub-code 01 are now exempted from duties. Raw materials imported for the production of of finished goods under 6307.90.40 and 6307.90.90 may also be exempted from duties but certain conditions have to be meet and pre-approval need to be obtained. Any articles imported for treatment or prevention of COVID-19 are also exempted from duties.
24/03/2020 to 30/09/2020
Petroleum Industry: Extend the timeline for the submission of excise tax returns from 10 days to 15 days of the month following in which goods were released out of the factory or bonded warehouses (liability accrues from 1 April - 30 June 2020). Submission of forms such as suggested retail price form and other documents may be submitted online.  
The Department of Foreign Trade (DFT) has allowed traders to extend the validity period of existing cost statements for a further 6 months from the date of expiry (this applies to cost statements that are due to expire from 30 March 2020 - 30 September 2020). Typical validity period for cost statements for preferential duties are valid for two years. 20/03/2020 to 30/09/2020
All exports of surgical facemasks are banned, except for 1) individual travelling abroad; or 2) to neighbouring countries and require importing country's direct contact with Thailand Foreign Ministry 05/02/2020 - 04/02/2021
Thai Customs will temporarily allow photocopies of Form E, Form D, Form AK, Form AJ, Form JTEPA, Form AI, Form Thai - India, Form AANZ, Form AHK, Form TC and Form Thai-Peru to be submitted for customs clearance instead of the original Form as required under ACFTA, ATIGA, AKFTA, AJCEP, JTEPA, AIFTA, TIFTA, AANZFTA, AHKFTA, Thai-ChileFTA, and Thai-Peru FTA. Importers need to obtain prior approval from Customs to use a photocopy of the Form.  
Medical masks and alcohol-based sanitisers are now considered controlled goods requiring compliance and regulation for import, export, and distribution and sales.  
Fast track registration is allowed by FDA to facilitate companies' manufacture or import of protective facemasks and other medical devices. Under fast track relevant formalities can be completed within 1 day.  
Storage timelines for Free Zones (FZ) and Bonded Warehouse (BW) can be extended for a year. The regular storage period in FZ and BW is two years but Customs has allowed to extend the timeline upon request by the companies. 19/03/2020
For advance rulings application for classification and origin: No personnel meeting with Customs Tariff Division is allowed, consultation should be done via phone call, and advance rulings are av  
Extended timelines for the re-export of temporary imported goods. (for goods for personal use , exhibitions, repairing, samples, equipment for research and development under Part 4 category 3 of Customs Tariff Decree). Prior approval from Customs is required for the extension.  
For the Single Point Payment Program enrollment, the use of e-signature and online submission has been allowed provided that requirements are met.
The program is extended from 30 April 2020 to 30 September 2021.
 
Application related to hazardous substances under the control of Department of Industrial Works (DIW) can be obtained online via Hazardous Substance Single Submission (HSSS) system or by email to RenewHazLicense@diw.mail.go.th
17/04/2020
There's a slow-down of processing of pending cases due to: meetings or conferences being postponed or canceled, less availability of officers both at HQ and port of entry level.  
Key message Effective period
Import duty rates will be eliminated for certain products such as medical masks, hand sanitisers, mask, materials, disinfectant and protective clothing.

In order to be entitled to 0% import duty rates, certain requirments from the Ministry of Health need to be fulfilled (i.e. to have a circulation number issued by a competent authority...)
07/02/2020
Border crossings between Vietnam and Cambodia and Laos are temporarily closed from April 1

Quarantine measures applied to driver, vehicles and all staff working at the border gates

01/04/2020

21/02/2020
Vietnam is applying social distancing on country-wide scale where people are not encouraged to go out except for necessary cases. However, companies are allowed to remain usual business with protection measures applied.

In addtion, most of Goverments authorities still remain normal operation

The social distancing has been relaxed in Vietnam from 23 April
01/04/2020
Export license required for medical masks export. Mask export is only allowed for international aid and assistance by Vietnam government.

On 29 April 2020, the Government has issued Resoluation 60/NQ-CP on the export of masks. Accordingly, export license is now longer required for mask exportation
11/03/2020
New rice export contract is suspended till end of the month. But government is also revisiting the policy and considering a quota requirement instead.
Rice price hits 6-year high as major supplying countries (Vietnam and Thailand) suffered drought.

On 10 April 2020, Government office issued Letter 2827/VPCP-KTTH informing approval from Prime Minister to resume rice exportation as well as requirment to ensure food safety

Following that, the Ministry of Industry and Trade issused Decision 1106/QĐ-BCT dated 10 April 2020 on export quota of rice (tarriff heading 10.06) in April 2020 which is 400,000 tons. This Decision is effective from 11 April 2020
27/03/2020
The Ministry of Finance instructs customs authorities not to conduct customs inspection audit in case of no non-compliance signal.

13/03/2020
Extension of deadlines for payments of taxes and land rental fee. The Government's Decree took effect from the signing date (08/04/2020) and is applicable to companies engaging in various business activities and have generated revenue from such activities in 2019 or 2020. 08/04/2020
Guidance on salary and other payments during work stoppages. 25/03/2020
Guidance on the suspension of payment of social insurance ("SI") contributions to the Retirement and Death Pension Fund (i.e. one of the three SI Funds)  
Postpone of trade union contributions until 30 June. 18/03/2020
Debt rescheduling, interest exemption and reduction, and debt category classification to support borrowers. This took effect immediately on March 13 and sets out conditions for debt restructuring. A VND250,000 billion (USD 11 billion) credit support package has been approved by the Government, to be implemented by the SBV. 13/03/2020

Contacts

Frank Debets

Managing Partner, Asia Pacific & Singapore, PwC Asia Pacific Customs and Trade

+65 6236 7302

Email

Gary Dutton

Partner, Australia, PwC Asia Pacific Customs and Trade

+61 (7) 3257 8783

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Susan Ju

Worldtrade Management Services Leader, China, PwC Asia Pacific Customs and Trade

+86 (10) 6533 3319

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Alex Qian

Partner, Shanghai China, PwC Asia Pacific Customs and Trade

+86 (21) 2323 1306

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Asta Nie

Partner, Shanghai China, PwC Asia Pacific Customs and Trade

+86 (21) 2323 2269

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Derek Lee

Partner, South China (incl. Hong Kong SAR), China, PwC Asia Pacific Customs and Trade

+86 (755) 8261 8218 (CN) / +852 2289 3329 (HK)

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Helen Y Han

Partner, Beijing China, PwC Asia Pacific Customs and Trade

+86 (10) 6533 2811

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Nathan Pan

Partner, Beijing China, PwC Asia Pacific Customs and Trade

+86 (10) 6533 3730

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William Marshall

Partner, South China, Hong Kong, PwC Asia Pacific Customs and Trade

+852 2833 4977

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Nitin Vijaivergia

Partner, India, PwC Asia Pacific Customs and Trade

+91 9820239915

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Rahul Shukla

Director, India, PwC Asia Pacific Customs and Trade

+91 9810029614

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Enna Budiman

Partner, Indonesia, PwC Asia Pacific Customs and Trade

+6221 521 2901 Ext. 90734

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Robert Olson

Director, Japan, PwC Asia Pacific Customs and Trade

+81 (0) 03 5251 6737

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Chandrasegaran Perumal

Director, Malaysia, PwC Asia Pacific Customs and Trade

+60 (3) 2173 3724

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Ruben Zorge

Senior Associate, Myanmar, PwC Asia Pacific Customs and Trade

+95 9 79064 8780

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Eugen Trombitas

Partner, New Zealand, PwC Asia Pacific Customs and Trade

+64 9 355 8686

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Young-Mo Lee

Partner, South Korea, PwC Asia Pacific Customs and Trade

+82 2 3781 3140

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Simon Huang

Director, Taiwan, PwC Asia Pacific Customs and Trade

+886 2 2729 6666 Ext. 23918

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Paul Sumner

Partner, Philippines & Thailand, PwC Asia Pacific Customs and Trade

+662 844 1305

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Nguyen Hong Son

Director, Vietnam, PwC Asia Pacific Customs and Trade

+84 28 3823 0796 Ext. 1527

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Pham Van Vinh

Director, Vietnam, PwC Asia Pacific Customs and Trade

+84 8 3823 0796 Ext. 1503

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