Starting today, the value of personal articles sent by post from the Chinese mainland to Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan will be limited to 800 yuan. That's according to the Chinese General Administration of Customs. To other countries, the amount is 1,000 yuan. The new measures also require that articles sent by individuals into China be subjected to import duties, but shall be exempt if the duty is below 50 yuan.
Overseas purchase agencies, that specialize in importing items such as handbags and cosmetics for secondary selling, will be hit hardest. The Administration has determined that their purchases fall under trade.
Huang Yi, Official of General Administration of Customs said "They say that these agencies are actually importers, because the products they post are not for individual use, but rather to sell to others. Therefore, all goods belonging to this trade - whether they be large or small - will be levied a tax.
Chinese customs have been combating smuggling for years. Some overseas purchase agencies claim the packages are for personal use to evade taxes while others cut out international bands and logos or quote lower prices to customs.
Huang Yi said "Customers say the prices of goods for overseas purchase are much lower. Why? They actually evade the import tax. Lawful businesses need to pay tax for each article, driving up their secondary prices, and now they feel threatened."
Overseas purchases for domestic resale has risen significantly recently, meaning that the government has lost huge amounts in taxes. And when the agencies do not hold a business license, business and income tax are also evaded.