BEIJING—Cross-border e-commerce trade has been flourishing in China, with turnover rising 80.6 percent from a year earlier to 90.24 billion yuan last year.
The average annual growth rate for the past three years is more than 50 percent, said Yu Guangzhou, head of China’s General Administration of Customs (GAC) on Feb 9 at the first Global Cross-Border E-commerce Conference in Beijing.
China’s e-commerce exports surged 41.3 percent to 33.65 billion yuan last year, while imports rocketed by 116.4 percent to 56.59 billion yuan.
Chinese customs handled 660 million manifests for e-commerce trade in the past year, 8.4 times as much as for conventional imports and exports, according to Yu.
On Nov 11, the Singles’ Day online shopping festival, Chinese customs processed a total of 16.2 million orders, about 187 per second.
Yu said that China’s customs authority would continue to boost cross-border e-commerce and improve services to meet Chinese demand to buy foreign goods online.
The Ministry of Commerce said that 220 countries and regions across the world were covered by China’s cross-border e-commerce network as of 2016.
Zhao Ruxia, director of the GAC International Department, said that the conference would be held once every two years to facilitate global customs cooperation.
Unlike traditional foreign trade, deals made through e-commerce platforms often involve small orders and target end-consumers, posing new challenges to customs control.
To address the issue, the World Customs Organization (WCO) has set up an e-commerce working group to develop international standards.
At the two-day conference, a draft WCO framework of standards on cross-border e-commerce will be discussed to determine on the basic principles on customs control, according to Zhao.
Discussions over the framework will also touch upon trade convenience and security, taxation, statistics and capacity building.
The framework will be the world’s first guidance document on customs control for cross-border e-commerce, she said.
Nearly 2,000 people from 125 countries and regions attended the conference.