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ASEAN becomes top trade partner of Hainan

By Ma Zhiping and Liu Xiaoli | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2018-06-26

Foreign trade volume in South China's Hainan province totaled 26.5 billion yuan ($4.05 billion) in the first five months of 2018, with imports reaching 17.59 billion yuan, surging by 7.4 percent year-on-year, Haikou Customs said at a press conference on June 25.

The export volume shrank by 25.3 percent to 8.98 billion yuan, while the import volume increased 7.4 percent to surpass 17.59 billion yuan.

Hainan conducted trade with more than 143 countries and regions in the past five months from January to May, with ASEAN countries replacing the United States to become the largest trading partner of Hainan, said Mo Yanfei, deputy division chief of the statistics department of Haikou Customs.

The import and export between Hainan and ASEAN amounted to 6.41 billion yuan from January to May, accounting for 24.1 percent of the island’s total foreign trade volume. While the figure with the United States increased 54.4 percent to reach 5.87 billion yuan, trade with EU grew 33.5 percent to reach 4.57 billion yuan during the same period, official statistics showed.

The imports of airplanes and duty-free commodities continued to grow, contributing to 30.2 percentage points in Hainan’s total foreign trade volume in the first five months. Hainan’s import of aircraft reached 6.1 billion yuan, and duty-free goods 2.65 billion yuan, up by 2.6 times and 25.1 percent, respectively.

Imports of chemical materials such as xylene, pulp and glycol and medical products also saw double-digit surges in the first five months.

Haikou Customs has carried out series of measures to integrate customs procedures to create an easier business environment for foreign trade. Customs Clearance documents for Exit/Entry Commodities have been canceled, and introduction of “smart management” has remarkably improved work efficiency, according to Huang Tingting, an official from the Haikou customs.

Due to these measures, the clearance time for entry commodities had been cut down to 2.73 hours, a fall of 89.7 percent, and for the exit down 68.6 percent to 0.14 hour. It has also helped reduce costs for customs clearance from trade companies.

The two offshore duty-free shops on the island province sold more than 4.72 billion yuan of goods, received 1.28 million customers and sold over 6.16 million items for past five months, which was year-on-year growth of 25 percent, 22.9 percent and 32.5 percent, respectively.

The State Council gave Hainan the permission to run a trial offshore duty-free program on April 20, 2011.

Meanwhile, Hainan also made efforts to crack down on smuggling and related criminal activities, especially in such sectors as smuggling of overseas waste, agricultural products, resources products, dutiable goods and firearms and drug, said Wang Dingjun, deputy director of the inspection bureau with Haikou Customs.

So far this year, 201 cases have been placed on file for further investigation, among them 51 cases are related to criminal activities, involving a total value of 883 million yuan, 150 cases were related to administrative violations with a total value of 9.83 million yuan.

Haikou customs officials said they will do their best to serve construction of the China (Hainan) Free Trade Pilot Zone and Free Trade Port with Chinese characteristics, deepen reforms in supervision systems to create a convenient business environment for foreign trade.