Trading successfully across the world seems impossible without thinking about the role that China plays in global supply chains today. According to the Observatory of Economic Complexity, a data visualization tool created by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, China had the largest export economy in the world in 20191. As more and more businesses import into or export out of China, they too have to wade through the deep, complicated waters of trade compliance with Chinese regulations.

Progress in trade facilitation

There is no doubt that China has undertaken many steps to simplify global trade. Joining the rules-based World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2001 was a significant step. It provided foreign companies with much-needed certainty that Chinese laws would follow a robust and well-known legal framework that was harmonized internationally. Businesses would be able to organize compliance processes around these laws, streamlining operations globally.

Moreover, the Chinese Customs authorities introduced a single electronic platform for filing of all declarations.  Compliance data is now submitted to all relevant agencies at once. This single window, or one-stop-shop, saves businesses a significant amount of much-needed time.

China trade remains complex

Still, despite these vast improvements, trading with China is not without its complexities, and companies are still left confused too often. Chinese trade regulations are constantly changing without much warning, are sometimes issued only in Chinese and the paperwork required to clear Customs can be complex. The data required to successfully comply with China Customs is difficult to manage because it could be spread out across multiple manufacturing facilities and trading partners. To be able to successfully navigate through this, your supply chain must be extremely agile.

Automation is key to unlocking opportunities

So, is trading with China this complex for every business? Not quite! The most resilient businesses automate all China trade processes and successfully navigate through the complex waters of trade compliance. Modern global trade tools equipped with artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) are now essential to clear Customs faster, reduce audits and streamline supply chain operations in China. Trade automation tools are also necessary for companies to obtain the prestigious Advanced Certified Enterprise (ACE) status—which unlocks further simplifications and favorable regulatory terms. Computerizing the trade compliance audit process and sharing results in real time with the authorities is crucial to minimize inspections at the border or on company premises. Where supported by powerful AI tools, companies can obtain complete trade flow visibility and forward planning capabilities. This is essential to leverage the duty savings opportunities of China-specific trade programs—such as General Trade, Processing Trade and Bonded Zone—for all facilities.

E2open’s Global Trade Compliance suite of applications allows businesses to meet the rigorous Chinese compliance requirements, reduce direct and indirect costs and enhance supply chain performance for trade opportunities in China—all from one single place in the cloud. Leaders can reduce duty costs, improve efficiencies and harness special opportunities such as all the available Chinese free trade agreements, too.

If you’re interested in learning more about how to simply and confidently clear Chinese Customs, cut down on compliance costs, and stay on top of unexpected regulations changes by automating your China trade processes, check out this video: Growing China Trade in Full Compliance

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About the Author:

Justin is a Marketing Specialist at E2open. He joined the team in 2018 and started as an intern. Justin is responsible for managing the E2open social media pages, producing company webinars and videos, and providing analysis of E2open's digital marketing metrics. Justin graduated from Texas Tech University with a Bachelor's degree in Marketing with a concentration in Sales.
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