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Thursday, September 24, 2015, 10:11

Arbitrary charges slapped on foreign firms probed

By Xinhua

BEIJING - China has been investigating shipping companies accused of levying arbitrary charges following complaints from foreign trade enterprises.

The State Council, China's Cabinet, said on Wednesday it had called upon several departments to investigate allegedly motivated charges and double charges on exports and imports.

The National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), the country's top economic planner, has found that some shipping companies "have too many items on document charges and unreasonable telex release charges."

Following the probe, some shippers have adjusted their charging practices. The telex release charge has been reduced from around 500 yuan (US$78) per order to around 200 yuan.

Since 2014, a clean up of arbitrary charges has helped enterprises save 30 billion yuan, the State Council said. However, arbitrary charges remain a nagging issue, even though government administrative fees are fairly standardized.

Terminal handling charges in some ports have gone up to 1,200 yuan per container from last year's 700 yuan. Seal fees have skyrocketed from 5 yuan per container to 75 yuan.

The State Council has ordered seven departments including the NDRC, the Ministry of Transport, the Ministry of Commerce and the General Administration of Customs to carry out a full-scale investigation into these charges to set the market straight.

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