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China's New Inspection Method for Imported Hazardous Chemicals

Tiem: 2023-06-15

According to the announcement on Further Strengthening the Inspection and Supervision of Imported Hazardous Chemicals issued by the General Administration of Customs, on April 13, 2023, China formally implemented a new inspection method for imported hazardous chemicals.

Highlights of the new inspection mode

Under the new inspection method, “document verification + port inspection or destination inspection” are required for every batch of imported hazardous chemicals. Furthermore, the inspection procedures (sites) and the number of inspections will be set according to the properties of imported hazardous chemicals and the packing type of dangerous goods.

Scope of hazardous chemicals

1. Definition of hazardous chemicals

In accordance with the Regulations on the Safety Management of Hazardous Chemicals, hazardous chemicals refer to highly toxic chemicals and other chemicals which are toxic, corrosive, explosive, flammable, or combustion-supporting and chemicals that may cause harm to the human body, facilities, or the environment.

Customs will also inspect imported and exported hazardous chemicals that are listed in the Catalog of Hazardous Chemicals (hereinafter referred to as the Catalog) (the latest version).

2. Hazardous chemicals & dangerous goods

In accordance with the Classification and code of dangerous goods (GB6944), dangerous goods refer to substances and articles requiring specific protection that have such hazardous characteristics as explosivity, inflammability, toxicity, infectivity, corrosivity, and radioactivity, and may cause personal injury, property damage or environmental pollution during transport, storage, production, sales, usage, and disposal.

The scope of hazardous chemicals and dangerous goods overlaps in part. For example, both of them have specific requirements for packing.

However, they still have some differences – hazardous chemicals only refer to chemical substances while dangerous goods cover both substances and articles. Therefore, some dangerous goods, such as lithium batteries, matches, and automobile supplemental restraints cannot be classified as hazardous chemicals.

Some hazardous substances, such as boric acid, cannot be classified as dangerous goods as well. This is because many chronic hazards to human health and the environment such as carcinogenic, mutagenic, or toxic to Reproduction (CMR) have not been accepted as a classification criteria for dangerous goods.

Essential points for the declaration of imported hazardous chemicals under the new method

1. Items that need a declaration:

The following information shall be submitted when making declarations:

· Hazard category;

· Packing group (except for products in bulk);

· UN dangerous goods code (UN number);

· UN packing codes for dangerous goods (except for products in bulk);

· Declaration of Conformity for enterprises importing hazardous chemicals;

· For products that require the addition of inhibitors or stabilizers, a description of the actual name, quantity, and other relevant information of the added inhibitors or stabilizers should be provided;

· Chinese label (except for products in bulk); and

· A sample of a Chinese safety data sheet (SDS) (except for products in bulk).

2. Matters needing attention

(1)Information must be intact, accurate, and consistent.

If hazardous chemicals are filled in the “Name of inspection and quarantine”, then the “packed hazardous goods” or “bulk hazardous goods” must be selected in the “Cargo attribute” column, and “Information of dangerous goods” shall also be filled in.

If “Dangerous goods” is selected, “UN number”, “Class”, “Packing group” (except for products in bulk), and “UN packing codes” (except for products in bulk) must also be filled in.

If “Non-dangerous goods” is selected, other information in the “Information of dangerous goods” column may be left blank. If it is declared as “Packed dangerous chemicals” or “Bulk hazardous chemicals”, inspection and quarantine names of non-dangerous chemicals cannot be selected.

The class in the “Name of inspection and quarantine” should be identical to the “Class” in the “Information of dangerous goods” column. The packing group shown in the “UN packing codes” column should generally be equal to or higher than the packing group in the “Packing group” column.

(2) Documents must be intact, accurate, and consistent.

Documents need submission: GHS label (except for products in bulk) and a sample of the SDS, Declaration of Conformity for enterprises importing hazardous chemicals, and instructions for adding inhibitors or stabilizers (where applicable).

The sample of the GHS label must contain the following six elements:

· product identification;

· hazard pictogram;

· signal word;

· hazard statement;

· precautionary statement; and

· supplier information.

For small packages with a content of ≤100ml, simplified labels may be used and precautionary statements can be omitted.

The SDS must contain at least the following 16 sections:

· identification of the substance/preparation and of the company/undertaking;

· hazard identification;

· composition/information on ingredients;

· first aid measures;

· fire-fighting measures;

· accidental release measures;

· handling and storage;

· exposure controls/personal protection;

· physical and chemical properties;

· stability and reactivity;

· toxicological information;

· ecological information;

· disposal considerations;

· transport information;

· regulatory information; and

· other information.

Blank entries must be avoided.

The Declaration of Conformity must at least cover items prescribed in Annex 1 of Announcement No.129 [2020] of the General Administration of Customs – Announcement on Issues Concerning the Inspection and Supervision of Imported and Exported Hazardous Chemicals and the Packaging Thereof. Reasons must also be clearly indicated if relevant content is omitted. Names of chemicals must conform with names in the Catalog (the latest version), and the hazard category must conform with the actual GHS classification of imported goods. Dangerous goods must meet relevant requirements of international regulations based on their transportation types and the Recommendations on the Transport of Dangerous Goods-Model Regulations.

(3) Information declared must be consistent

There must be information consistency in the declaration documents and all information notified in the system must be consistent with that in declaration documents.

(4) Relevant requirements must be strictly met.

When consignees, or their representatives, of imported hazardous chemicals, are making declarations, the following information must be filled in truthfully through the China International Trade Single Window:

· cargo attributes;

· name of inspection and quarantine;

· hazard category;

· UN dangerous goods number;

· UN packing codes; and

· inspection and quarantine authorities at the destination.

Moreover, relevant documents must be submitted in accordance with Announcement No.129 [2020].

Upon making declarations, consignees or their representatives, of imported hazardous chemicals, can inquire about inspection notifications via the China International Trade Single Window.


Q: How do you identify whether a product must be declared as a hazardous chemical? For example, a batch of cinnamon oil is imported by our company and its taxation number is 3301294000. After investigation, the product I import does not belong to hazardous goods based on its HS code. Do I need to identify whether the product is a hazardous chemical?

A: The key to identifying hazardous chemicals is to see whether it is included in the Catalog of Hazardous Chemicals (the latest version). According to the Catalog, cinnamon oil does not belong to hazardous chemicals.

Q: A hazardous chemical is not listed in the Catalog. Do I need to declare – a chemical product containing hazardous chemicals or non-hazardous chemicals?

A: Products that are not listed in the Catalog (the latest version) must be declared as non-hazardous chemicals.

Q: What information must be provided when making declarations for imported hazardous chemicals?

A: Consignees or their brokers of imported hazardous chemicals must provide the following information when making declarations:

· hazard category;

· packing group (except for products in bulk);

· UN dangerous goods number (UN number); and

· UN packing codes of dangerous goods (except for products in bulk).

Q: Is it necessary to follow “document review and verification + port inspection or destination inspection”, if a hazardous chemical is not listed in the Catalog, but is still classified as dangerous goods?

A: Chemicals that are classified as dangerous goods but not listed in the Catalog (the latest version) do not need to make “document review and verification + port inspection or destination inspection”. In accordance with the Law of the People’s Republic of China on Import and Export Commodity Inspection, it is essential to identify the performance and use of packages and containers of dangerous goods when exporting dangerous goods.

Q: What are the requirements for importing or exporting hazardous chemicals?

A: Enterprises that import or export hazardous chemicals must ensure compliance with the following requirements:

· the mandatory requirements specified in China's national technical specifications for imported products;

· relevant international conventions, rules, treaties, agreements, protocols, and memorandums;

· technical regulations and standards in the destination country or region for exported products; and

· laws and regulations established by the General Administration of Customs and the former General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection, and Quarantine.

Q: What items must be inspected and verified for imported and exported hazardous chemicals?

A: (1) Main ingredients or components of products; physical and chemical properties, and hazard category must meet relevant laws and regulations;

(2) GHS (Chinese GHS label for imported products) on the package and SDS (Chinese SDS for imported chemicals); GHS label and SDS must meet relevant regulations and standards.

Q: What else do I need to pay attention to when making declarations?

A: Enterprises must accurately declare the destination inspection agency and, whenever possible, choose the customs office where their enterprise is located. This will facilitate destination inspections and enable prompt resolution of any issues that may arise. An advance declaration is highly recommended to improve the efficiency of customs clearance, and enterprises should actively cooperate with the local customs office to schedule inspections.

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