Chinese Customs Regulations

Our seafood importer client ordered 250,000 pounds of frozen whitefish from China which, upon inspection at the California port, proved wholly sub-standard. Our client refused delivery and shipped the goods back to China where the Chinese supplier refused to accept them. We advised our client to give written notice declaring the goods abandoned. Giving this notice was critically important.

The whitefish sat in Chinese Customs, using electricity to keep it frozen, for 169 days whereafter it was destroyed. Chinese Customs charged the shipping company $195,540 in storage and energy fees and refused to let them use the Chinese port until they paid. The shipping company paid and demanded reimbursement from our client. We advised the shipping company the case was governed by the following Chinese customs regulation:

Customs Law of the People's Republic of China, Chapter 3, Article 30

Article 30: Imported goods declared abandoned by the importer shall be sold by the Customs Dept. The money thus obtained shall be given to the State Treasury after the costs of transport, loading, unloading and storage are deducted

We informed the shipping company they should have surrendered the goods to Chinese Customs on the day our client declared them abandoned so the whitefish could be sold to cover Chinese customs, storage and energy fees. After some complaining, the shipping company gave up seeking reimbursement from our client. The Food Lawyers® had defeated a $195,540 claim with a three page letter.

Our client (owned by families from China) told us they were amazed we understood Chinese customs law better than the shipping company which itself was Chinese.


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