The Implementation of USCC (Uniform Social Credit Code): What you Need to Know

Vivian LlambesGeneral, Imports, News, Shipping From China16 Comments

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Starting June 1, 2018, the Chinese Customs authorities will begin implementing Uniform Social Credit Code, or USCC. The USCC is a pathway to bringing consistency and efficiency to the shipping industry. However, shippers and carriers will need to make certain adjustments to cope with the new procedures and requirements.

The most important changes relate to the data requirements when presenting your shipping instructions. The authorities will require your USCC number to complete the CCAM filing. It is important to remember that the USCC code belongs to the consignee.

The nearest equivalent to the USCC is the Tax Payer Identification Number, or TIN. The USCC is made up of a combination of 18 digits and letters. Where the transaction is to order B/L, you are required to provide the tax ID number of the first notify party.

The authorities will also require the shipper’s Enterprise Code. This code could originate from anywhere around the globe depending on where the items are being sent. For example, in some cases, an EU VAT number will suffice. This information must be submitted before the cut off time that is highlighted in the booking confirmation. Chinese authorities have indicated that they will seize any shipments without all of this information.

Operational Requirements

These instructions are mandatory to ship with Chinese companies, shores, and systems. The legal framework is contained within Notice of the General Administration of Customs of the People’s Republic of China No. 56 of 2017. The measures were brought in place to control the inward and outward shipping of vehicles and manifests. The measure aims to standardize the declaration process to reduce inconsistencies.

Officials also hope that the measures will increase the integrity of the data that is being held about shipments. Having accurate information is an essential tool of customs management, which is something the Chinese take very seriously. Affected companies must take into consideration the security and administrative iplications necessary for compliance with the measure’s requirements.

Key Procedures and Processes

  1. Follow Orders 196 and 172 to the letter of the law
  2. Pay particular attention to time limits, packing specifications, data items, and the manifest
  3. Complete and refer to the change in record form within 10 working days
  4. Ensure that the time adjustments are made to meet all deadlines
  5. Ensure that all descriptions of goods are complete and accurate

The Registration Certificates

The Chinese government has started issuing the Unified Social Credit Code Registration Certificates. These certificates are meant to be issued to “social organizations.” Once the code is available, only one certificate is required. Credit information will be traced using this code as well as other important information. A “WeChat” account has been set up for qualifying organizations to share information about transitioning to the new system. Shipping agents and carriers can apply to join the forum to discuss the issues that are relevant to their line of business.

Administrative Efficiency and Compliance

It is important to remember that the Chinese government takes these measures very seriously. Failure to comply with the new measures may result in a fine or having the goods impounded. The new certificate replaces the old identification tools including the:

  1. Industrial and commercial registration number
  2. Institutional credit code
  3. Taxpayer identification number

The previous system which required multiple identification tools confused shipping agents and carriers. Shippers struggled to reconcile and individually follow the many previous identification tools. In that sense, USCC will help to bring rationality into the administrative processes. It also means not having to keep a long paper trail for a significant period of time. Chinese officials are very stringent about records and the explanations for them. Shippers will have to pay special attention to all the little details in the rules.

Requirements for Carriers

The authorities do not set out a supervisory framework, but customs officials will likely be conducting spot checks. Goods or shipments that are found to be out of compliance may be impounded and have fines imposed on them, accordingly. Certainly, it is advisable to keep good records of transactions and procedures so that they can be used to back up any queries from the authorities. Shippers must be informed about the new changes and their responsibilities for implementing the new measure. The Chinese government has put in place transitional arrangements for those goods that will be on the old system during transit while the measure is being rolled out.

Banned Travelers and Goods

There are bans on goods and travelers that are considered to have a bad social credit. These bans may be an alien concept to many shippers from outside China, but it basically means that the Chinese government will want to control who and what enters their borders. China will engage in a comprehensive monitoring of its own citizens and will ban those who fall outside the minimum acceptable score for traveling. Most of the low social credit scores arise from certain crimes against the Chinese state.

The civil liberties issues are unlikely to affect the shipping industry since it primarily carries goods. However, there may be certain goods that are on the banned list. It is best to consult with the authorities before accepting shipments that are not regularly done or for products that are not accurately and fully described. The issues of stowaways are likely to be dealt with using the normal procedures. However, carriers should continue to take precautions through careful checks and verification.

These changes will primarily impact carriers of the shipping industry. That means that carriers must institute certain changes in their working procedures to be able to quickly implement and abide by the new requirements. Carriers may also find it beneficial to task a specific officer with ensuring that the new system is implemented without a hitch. All members of staff must be fully trained on the new system so they can work together to implement the new practices and watch out for potential problems. The support of Chinese government departments during the implementation of the Uniform Social Credit Code measures will be invaluable.

Vivian Llambes
Vivian loves working here. She has been with the company since the start, over two decades ago. When she's not giving her 110% to help her clients business succeed, you can find Vivian spending time outdoors with her family, or relaxing on the beach with a good book.

16 Comments on “The Implementation of USCC (Uniform Social Credit Code): What you Need to Know”


    Excellent Article Vivian, thank you. Is there any new ruling/law that requires or allows filing of information at the house bill level directly by the freight forwarder or NVOCC?

    1. LILLY + Associates

      Hi Nancy – Hi Nancy – As for rates yes, there is a law that makes mandatory for us to fill directly the rates with the NVOCC, apart from this, there is no law that requires us to fill in the rest of the information of a House Bill of Landing. Hope this helps!

  2. Mike

    Thanks for this information Vivian. Just for clarification; as a consignee in Africa, how do I get the USCC code?

    1. LILLY + Associates

      Hello Mike! The USCC is specifically for consignee’s in China. It would not apply for a consignee in Africa. Thank you for reading us!

  3. Sarah

    Dear Liily,

    Thanks for sharing these useful information!

    I have some inquires and I am kindly requesting your advice:

    1- Who generates the USCC Code, the Chinese government?
    2- We are a consignee in Egypt/ Africa, our forwarding company is in China and we ship to Egypt, do we still need to have this code?
    3- In case of the TAX ID Number that can substitute the USCC CODE, In Egypt we have a TAX ID NO. but it is not a global number that can be used for reference outside Egypt.
    4- Is there a deadline for submitting this data?
    5- Are there any obligations required form International Consignees regarding this matter, or only Chinese consignees are concerned.

    Thank you for your assistance and sorry for my many questions.

    1. LILLY + Associates

      Hello Sarah – we have numbered the answers in the order of each question:
      1- That is Correct – the Chinese government is the one in charge of generating the USCC code.
      2- Only Chinese companies are required to obtain this number.
      3- The USCC is not needed in Egypt as it only applies for Chinese companies.
      4- The USCC code must be obtained by the Chinese entity prior to shipping.
      5- Only pertains to Chinese Consignee’s.

      Thank you for reading us, and don’t worry, we loved your questions!

  4. Holly Meaders

    Is there a certain value cut/off point that this information is required, i.e. small package of documents going courier – is that required?

    1. LILLY + Associates

      Hi Holly – The USCC code is only needed for ocean shipments – Small packages, letters and even air freight are exempt from this requirement.

  5. Maria Fitzpatrick

    To be clear, if I have a Canadian company and I am importing from China to Canada, I do not need a USCC Code?
    Thank you.

    1. LILLY + Associates

      Hello Maria – yes, the USCC code is needed every time China is involved in the import/export process. In your particular case, the nine-digit Business Number (BN) issued by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) will work as your USCC code. Thank you for reading us!

  6. Amar

    hi Lilly, Great information. I have a question.
    In couple of answers above you said that Only Chinese companies are required to obtain USCC number, but then you mentioned against another answer that a Canadian company would use it’s BN (Business Number) as USCC. Can you clear the confusion please?
    Also my second question is. If Canadian companies need to provide the BN Number, then what will be the scenario where Notify Party and Consignee are different on Bill of Lading. Who’s BN number need to be provided in that case?

    Thank you

    1. LILLY + Associates

      Hi Amar – The USCC code is only needed for Chinese companies, however, if the company is not Located in China, the BN or Tax ID of that company would act as a USCC code.
      -The BN or Tax ID number that has to be provided will always be the one of the Consignee, even if they are different on the BL.
      -We hope this helps, and thank you for reading us!

  7. Alan Tam

    Hi Lilly,

    I am located at Hong Kong , And will import a stuff from USA by sea shipment, Would you please letting me know I need to supply the USCC number to the USA shipper?

    Thank you so much


    1. LILLY + Associates

      Hello Alan – Yes, as your company is located in China, These instructions are mandatory and you should provide the Shipper with your USCC code. Thank you for reading us!

  8. Marzia

    Hi Lilly,
    I am located in Italy, and I would like to sell my company products on Xiaohongshu. Do I need this code? And if I want to sell on Tmall, do I need the same?

    1. LILLY + Associates

      Hi Marzia – Yes, you still need a USCC code but remember this is basically a Tax ID number, so considering your company is not located in China but in Italy, your “Codice fiscale” will work as your USCC code. We hope this helps.

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