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New positive list of commodities announced by China’s Ministry of Finance

2019-12-27 4 minute read China

The positive list of commodities allowed for cross-border e-commerce specifies which commodities can be cleared for imports under this mode of trade. The new list will take effect from 1 January 2020, with 92 more commodity codes added, including FMCG such as frozen seafood, alcoholic drinks, etc.

The Ministry of Finance (MOF) has announced a new positive list of commodities that will be allowed for imports into China through cross-border e-commerce route.

The new list was released on 27 December 2019, and will take effect from 1 January 2020.

There is now a total of 1413 commodity codes, with 92 commodities added since the last release in November 2018. The additions include frozen seafood and alcoholic drinks among others, opening up more opportunities for exporters offering those product categories.


When the first national-level zone (Hangzhou Cross-Border E-Commerce Pilot Zone) was approved in March 2015, later in July that year the Hangzhou Entry-Exit Inspection and Quarantine Bureau implemented an innovative “negative list” approach in managing the scope of imported goods entering the zone. The negative list included such goods as human tissues, microorganisms, used or waste products, radioactive products and dangerous chemicals; except those restricted categories, all other goods could be imported as long as not prohibited by the law.

This approach allowed a degree of flexibility for entities to test these measures in practice, and in April 2016 the Ministry of Finance announced the first “positive list” which took effect from 8 April 2016.

Since Q2 2016, the eligible commodities were regulated by the positive list approach. The list is being periodically updated by the Ministry. Furthermore, different zones have focus on specific classes of goods taking into consideration their local advantages.

Update to follow

Don’t forget to check back soon.

We will be updating this post with further details in the next few days, our data quality team is now preparing the information on commodities to be added to our search tool.

Bottom line

This announcement comes only a few days after the relase of a circular confirming the approval of 24 more cross-border e-commerce pilot zones to be implemented in 2020.

Those are very positive developments that any foreign brands and manfacturers should embrace should they wish to grow their sales in the Chinese market.

Cross-border e-commerce trade in China is developing rapidly, driven by consumption growth, innovation, as well as increasingly favourable government policies that are creating an inclusive environment, giving a level playing field.

This is also an opportunity for smaller, niche, or new less popular brands that can utilise cross-border e-commerce to establish their presence in this increasingly competitive market. Moreover, for some product categories, cross-border e-commerce may be the only trade route available to them without a full product certification process that is mandatory for traditional trade route.