Pilot policy smoothes way for overseas artworks to be seen at CIIE
Applicable during the China International Import Expo period - the nation's top import-themed fair - each participating art institution overseas is eligible for zero tariffs for introducing five cultural relic pieces. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]
Art enthusiasts in China now stand to appreciate more international masterpieces at home with lower costs, thanks to a pilot policy to smooth the introduction of overseas artworks and cultural relics.
Applicable during the China International Import Expo period - the nation's top import-themed fair - each participating art institution overseas is eligible for zero tariffs for introducing five cultural relic pieces, said Hu Huanzhong, chairman of the Shanghai Free Trade Zone International Culture Investment and Development Co Ltd, a platform of cultural trade and development in the zone.
"Some 20 art institutions from abroad now stand to enjoy the latest policy and introduce an array of art works during the fourth edition of the CIIE, which is projected to outrival last year in both the number of exhibitors and artworks enjoying such favorable incentives," Hu said.
He said the agreements fall under an umbrella Memorandum of Understanding signed between the National Cultural Heritage Administration and the Shanghai Municipal Government in November, a test-water step to optimize the exchanges of inbound and outbound of cultural heritages and artworks.
Ye Jian, deputy director of Shanghai Customs, said at a briefing on Monday that preferential tax policies will be applied to imported exhibits during the upcoming CIIE to "encourage the flow-back of overseas Chinese cultural relics".
This represents the latest policy attempts to advance the free flow of art works in China, Hu noted.
For instance, the platform in the FTZ already allows overseas art pieces to be stored in bonded areas before they get through custom clearance, a move intended to safeguard "the value, privacy and security" unique to these delicate exhibits, he noted.
The import and export value of artworks handled through the platform in the first half of 2021 alone achieved 6 billion yuan ($925 million), Hu said, surpassing last year's 5.3 billion yuan due to the blow from COVID-19 and is poised to cross the 8.5 billion yuan mark achieved in 2019.
The company provides year-round exhibition and trade services for international art institutions, galleries, and collectors.