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Tax breaks draw overseas artworks to CIIE Updated: 2021-11-12


The ongoing Shanghai FTZ Art Season is the world's first event of its kind to be held at a bonded warehouse. [Photo provided to]

Artworks and relics were among the highlights of the recently concluded fourth China International Import Expo (CIIE) this year, in the wake of the trade being stimulated by new tax exemption policies.

Twenty art institutions from 11 countries and regions participated in the expo – held in East China's Shanghai on Nov 5-10 – bringing in 178 artworks via the Waigaoqiao Bonded Area of the China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone. 

The combined value of the pieces hit a record 2.35 billion yuan ($366.8 million) and they headed for the CIIE without paying customs duties, to be freely traded at the fair.

Because of the special policy introduced last October, each CIIE exhibitor could enjoy tax-free trading of five antiques, artworks or other collectible objects and the Shanghai Customs modified its inspection services accordingly. 

"One advantage is that the goods placed in the bonded area are in a bonded state, so that exhibitors can choose what to do with the exhibits according to the actual situation, without worrying about the uncertainty caused by the long-distance transportation," said Chen Liangjun, an officer at the customs bonded supervision department in the Shanghai Waigaoqiao bonded area. 

Companies provided customs guarantees in advance and then had their artworks directly transported to the exhibition venue. 

The Shanghai FTZ and the Shanghai International Bonded Artwork Service Center also upgraded their services by providing a set of customized solutions. Each of the exhibitors had a special archive established for them to ensure that the whole process was transparent and traceable.

British art company HENI was a fresh face at the expo this year. 

Zheng Yan, who is in charge at HENI Art China, lauded the artwork service center for its one-stop service – saying that it covered all the steps including entry and exit channel services, stand erection and dismantling, import tax agent settlements, among others.

The first Shanghai FTZ Art Season kicked off on Oct 12 at the International Bonded Artwork Service Center, enabling CIIE exhibitors to approach potential buyers in advance. 

The event is still underway and runs to the end of December.