China fast-tracks customs clearances for epidemic-control goods
By Tao Yuan
China's customs regulator has paced up customs clearance for epidemic control materials from overseas amid efforts to contain the novel coronavirus outbreak since Wednesday.
Epidemic control goods are on high demand in China, as the novel coronavirus sweeps throughout the country. Typically, it takes less than 20 minutes for these goods to be cleared, which used to take days under normal circumstances.
The General Administration of Customs (GAC) said measures are in place to ensure fast clearance for imported medicines, disinfectant products, protective equipment and medical devices to combat the novel coronavirus outbreak.
It said customs offices nationwide have been ordered to open "green passages" and special service windows to be opened at customs on site to accelerate the clearing process for medical material donations from overseas.
From January 24 until February 5, a total of 377 million items of epidemic prevention and control goods worth nearly 1.22 billion yuan (174.7 million U.S. dollars) have been cleared, said Jin Hai, an official with the GAC, at a press conference last week.
"Since the epidemic broke out, many prevention and control goods have arrived at customs. Many of them have been donated by overseas Chinese communities and chambers of commerce," explained Zhou Tunan, section chief of Chengdu-Shuangliu Airport Customs District.
"We adopt special rules under special circumstances," said Zhou. "We have officers on duty 24/7 to clear goods and ensure zero delays."
On many of these boxes, one can see the words: "Keep going, China."
"I feel proud as a Chinese," said Zhou. "And as a customs officer, I'm also proud and happy to be carrying out my duties during the epidemic."