Goods imported in China for display or demonstration at trade shows and exhibitions are exempt from Customs duty, provided they are re-exported within three months. The exhibition organizer must obtain advance approval from the Customs, provide certain shipping documents and a list of items to be exhibited, and coordinate with Customs officials. Customs may sometimes request a guarantee in the form of a deposit or letter.
A local sponsor with authority to engage in foreign trade may sponsor small exhibitions or technical seminars, requiring less than 500 square meters, without first seeking approval from MOFTEC. Customs will handle the tariff exemption formalities based upon a guarantee of re-export that is signed between the sponsor and the foreign party.
Food and beverage exhibition "not-for-sale" sample-entry rules are not clearly defined and appear capriciously applied. U.S. exhibitors should contact the exhibition organizers to determine their liabilities regarding sample entries for such events before registering to participate, to obtain a clearer understanding of exhibition-related expenses.
Some exhibits or samples imported under the temporary not-for-sale regulations may be sold after the trade event is completed, in which case the duties owed on these items are levied by the Customs.
Reasonable quantities of items for personal use by short-term visitors may be imported duty-free. Other items such as cameras, televisions, stereo equipment, computers, and tape recorders must be declared and may be assessed a duty depending upon the item's value.
Advertising Materials and Trade Samples
Samples and advertising materials are exempt from customs duty and VAT if the item's value does not exceed RMB 200. Samples and advertising materials concerning certain electronic products, however, are subject to customs duty and VAT regardless of value.