Port of Sines on the Silk Road

Friday, September 22, 2017
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The Portuguese government reached a political agreement with China on Thursday to streamline Customs procedures between the port of Sines and the Chinese ports.

In an event, attended by the Secretary of State for Fiscal Affairs, António Mendonça Mendes and the Deputy Minister of the General Administration of Customs of China, Zou Zhiwu, a protocol was signed to implement a "green way" for commercial exchanges between Portugal, through the Port of Sines, and China.

The measures announced by the Secretary of State for Fiscal Affairs include the European program SSTL - Smart and Secure Trade Lanes, which aims to establish a direct maritime trade route between the port of Sines and Chinese ports, as well as streamline Customs procedures and minimize administrative burdens, enabling faster release of goods (subject to control at source) and thus improving predictability in trade.

The second measure is related to customs VAT. Until now, importing companies were obliged to prepay VAT at the moment of import (or to give a guarantee). Alternatively, if they imported their goods indirectly through countries such as Spain and the Netherlands, they no longer had to anticipate the payment of VAT, since no advance notice was required in those countries, which constituted a strong competitive disadvantage for national ports.

This measure, which has already begun to be gradually implemented, frees the importing companies from this financial burden, facilitates their treasury management by releasing resources and removes the disincentive to import through national ports.

António Mendonça Mendes pointed out that these measures simplify customs controls, "eliminate costs of context" and "eliminate time", passing "the trade that originates and destination in the Port of Sines" to "benefit from the advantages of faster customs clearance". This is a step towards "integrating the port of Sines" into the "Silk Road