China-ASEAN FTA Tariffs

I’d like to setup a business in China to export goods to Indonesia but am finding the various taxes hard to understand. The China-ASEAN FTA (free trade agreement) is also complicating matters. Say I’m trying to export, HTS Code 29032910.

  1. The newly reduced China-ASEAN tariff rate indicates there’s no tariff. Does this mean I don’t need to pay export tax from China?
  2. I’ve heard both 7% and 17% retail tax rates from Forwarders. What is the actual tax rate and is it avoidable via rebate etc?
  3. Are any of the above affected by Third party invoicing not based in China? Appreciate any guidance from the experts.

I checked into the situation.  As I understand it, the goods that are imported into China from ASEAN may have a lower import tax as part of the FTA.  For the majority of goods exported out of China, there are no export taxes regardless of where they are being sent.  The tax you need to be most concerned about is the tax applied by the Indonesian government when Chinese goods are imported into Indonesia.  The amount of tax may be lower than before thanks to the FTA.

I’m afraid we don’t have contacts in Indonesia to check on the import taxes there per the FTA.  However, my China contacts are familiar with HS codes rather than HTS codes, if you can give me the HS code, I will do my best to confirm that there are no special export taxes for this product.

Let me know how things work out for you.

Follow up:

Thanks for the response.  I forgot that there were many types of taxes applied and confused myself.  Specifically, I thought the China-ASEAN FTA would have an effect on China export tax when in fact it only effects import taxes in the respective countries. I’m all sorted out now.

Question answered by Mike Bellamy, host of “Ask the Experts” at the China Sourcing Information Center.

Mike Bellamy is an Advisory Board Member & Featured Blogger at the not-for-profit China Sourcing Information Center ( He is also the author of, “The Essential Reference Guide to China Sourcing” ( and founder of PassageMaker Sourcing Solutions ( )




  1. Krista Salvatore on February 6, 2013 at 2:13 pm

    Very informative site. Thanks for sharing this information.

  2. amukherjee on January 31, 2013 at 6:26 am

    HTS =HS. The 1st (Harmonized Tariff Schedule) is US version of what the rest of the English speaking world calls Harmonized Schedule. US just likes to be different. Just like US uses ECCN (Export control classification number) , where as the rest of the world uses ECN (Export control classification number).
    FTAs usually cover duty rates, not taxes so much.

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