China – Samples, Advertising Materials and
Personal Effects

The General Administration of China Customs released regulation No. 33 which took effect on July 1, 2010. The objective is to further monitor the import and export of samples and advertising materials to and from China.

The changes are summarized below:

  • The tax free (‘tax’ = duty + tax + VAT) value limit of RMB400 [declared value CIF (Commercial Value + Insurance + Freight charge)] has been removed. As a result, all shipments containing samples and advertising materials will be taxed according to their respective Harmonized System (HS) commodity codes.

    Exemptions:
    • If the applicable taxes are less than RMB50
    • If the goods are declared as samples or advertising materials with no business value, such as mutilated clothing or footwear. These are subject to verification by China Customs.
    • Personal effects, if the value does not exceed RMB50
  • Importers (and exporters) in China must have a Registration Code (RC) or use an agent who has an RC to act on their behalf. The RC must be shown on all customs declaration forms. The RC is not required for shipments of documents or personal effects.


To facilitate efficient and accurate commodity classification by China Customs, complete and accurate commodity descriptions must be provided on the air waybill and Commercial Invoice. Also include the HS code(s) and the word 'sample', 'advertising material' or 'personal effects' after the specific commodity description on both the air waybill and the commercial invoice. If possible, also provide the RC for the importer in China.