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Tourists Didn't Throw Away Luggage to Avoid Tax: Customs

(People's Daily Online)    10:02, April 10, 2016

A photo went viral online in last couple of days shows beauty products scattered all around on airport floor and luggages were opened and inspected. The caption under the photo says the beauty products were the items people threw away to avoid becoming the subject of the new tax policy taking effect on Friday.

The photo was later on proved be snapped in Shanghai Pudong International Airport, and the Shanghai Customs said it was just a normal routine of checking up tourist’s luggages. The luggage checked up in the photo was containing boxes of beauty products the tourists bought from South Korea. The beauty products were piled up in different categories simply for the convenience of inspection.

The circulation of the photo was triggered by a new tax bill implemented since April 8 ,2016. China’s Ministry of Finance published on Thursday a list of more than 1,100 imported items that will be subject to the new tax policy. Among them are food, baby products, home appliances, cosmetics, clothing and shoes, items that Chinese consumers tend to purchase online. The government unveiled the new tax policy last month which analysts said will increase the tax burden on low-end products while lower the tax rate for some premium items such as cosmetics.

The move is the government's latest effort to create a level playing field for online and offline sellers of imported goods, as currently retail goods purchased online are enjoying tax rates that are lower than those on other imported goods.

The tax revamp comes amid a cross-border e-commerce boom in China as the growing middle class increasingly desires products of higher quality.

The Ministry of Finance confirmed on Sunday that the current customs clearance guide of resident passengers may bring in duty-free articles for personal use worth a total of RMB 5,000 is not changed.

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