Lobster exports to China - Tariff classification issues
New Zealand is aware of an issue raised by certain ports of entry to China which are requiring Chinese importers to classify consignments of live New Zealand Lobster under Tariff Item 0306.2290 instead of 0306.2190, with Customs officials at these ports citing that there had been a change in tariff classification with effect from 1 January 2012.
The 2012 update of the international tariff structure, on which the China Customs tariff is based, did not affect 0306.21 (‘Rock lobster and other sea crawfish (Palinurus spp., Panulirus spp., Jasus spp.)’) or 0306.22 (‘Lobsters (Homarus spp.)’). Accordingly, this matter has been raised by New Zealand with the General Administration of Customs of the People’s Republic of China (Head Office in Beijing).
Preliminary research indicates this issue stems from a version of the 2012 China Customs tariff published in China, which seems to misreport changes in 0306.21 and 0306.22.
The General Administration of Customs of the People’s Republic of China (GACC) has confirmed that no changes were made in its working tariff document on 0306.21 or 0306.22 and it is looking into this matter further.
New Zealand industry has confirmed from that lobster exports from New Zealand is of the Jasus species variety, correctly classified in 0306.21.
Recommended actions for exporters
Until this issue of misclassification is resolved, it is suggested that the product description on documentation supporting the export (and the import declaration) explicitly refers to the species of lobster being traded, e.g. – instead of 'LIVE LOBSTER', as has been the case on some stopped consignments, the import declaration and supporting documents show ' LIVE NZ LOBSTER (JASUS SPECIES). Note that only the certificate of origin requires the tariff classification to be present, and this should continue to be the correct classification at export from NZ (0306.21 – ‘Rock lobster and other sea crawfish (Palinurus spp., Panulirus spp., Jasus spp.).
For MAF sanitary certificates, a six-digit HS code is required in the documentation supporting an export certificate. MAF has advised that this documentation is not impacted by the classification change issue, and exporters should continue to use the 030621 code. MAF also requires a precise species description for seafood exports which is shown on the certificate. For rock lobster this would usually be Jasus edwardsii.
If you have any further questions regarding this issue, please contact the China desk officer, Trade Policy, New Zealand Customs at (04) 901-4000 or firstname.lastname@example.org
- Page last updated: 24 January 2012