CPPCC 2021 | Wan Jie: Continue to reduce taxes and encourage cultural relics to return to promote the development of China's cultural relics and artworks market
2021-03-08

In 2021, deputies to the National People's Congress (NPC) and members of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) will gather in Beijing to discuss state affairs. Many committee members and representatives from the art world also actively offered suggestions for the superstructure and future development of culture and art. 

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Wan Jie, a member of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) from the cultural industry and chairman of Yachang Culture Group, has been conscientiously performing his duties and actively making suggestions since he was elected a CPPCC member. Over the years, Wanjie has always paid attention to the inheritance, protection and development of culture and art, and promoted the improvement of laws and regulations in the cultural field. As an active practitioner of corporate social responsibility, members of Wanjie have continuously submitted several targeted, high-quality and constructive proposals to strengthen ecological and environmental protection and raise public awareness of environmental protection.

In this year, Wan Jie put forward the proposal on <<continuing tax reduction and exemption to encourage the return of cultural relics to promote the development of China's cultural relics and artworks market>>.

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Proposal

On continuing to reduce taxes to encourage cultural relics to return to promote the development of China's cultural relics and works of art market proposal

Brief

On October 12, 2020, Ministry of Finance, General Administration of Customs, state ministration of taxation jointly issued <<about China international import expo extension in sales of imported exhibits notice of preferential tax policies>>, which explicitly allow each exhibitor can enjoy five pieces of art, collectibles and antiquities shall be exempted from customs duties and import link value-added tax and consumption tax. This has given the cultural relics industry and cultural relics market practitioners confidence.

In the past 10 years, under the influence of the economic situation and related tax policies, the scale of China's cultural relics market has been reduced year after year. Take the auction market as an example, the annual turnover has dropped from 55.3 billion yuan 10 years ago to 20 billion yuan, losing the international status of the world's first auction body, and the status of Beijing's "international art trade center" has also been gradually weakened.

The State Council's tax support for the sale of cultural relics and works of art by exhibitors at the "Import Expo" is another big move after the reduction of import tariffs on cultural relics and works of art in previous years, which will play a positive role in promoting the development of China's cultural relics and cultural relics market. However, the coverage of the "Import Fair" policy is limited. For many years, the VAT (currently 13%) and shipping and postal tax (currently 20%) on the import link of cultural relics and artworks appealed by all parties in the society to be reduced still seriously hinder the "way home" of Chinese cultural relics scattered overseas, which has a negative impact on China's cultural relics protection and cultural relics market.


Influence

In China from 1840 to 1949, many cultural relics diaspora overseas for various reasons, according to incomplete statistics, UNESCO, 218 museums in 47 countries around the world, the number of Chinese cultural relics 1.67 million pieces, and the number of overseas Tibetan folk of Chinese cultural relics collection of 10 times as much, these belonged to the cultural relics of the Chinese nation are been stopped from return by tax policies.

1.Scattered cultural relics cannot return and cause unable to protect.

Among the cultural relics scattered overseas, there are countless national precious cultural relics. Since the 1990s, the State Administration of Cultural Heritage has vigorously promoted the repatriation of overseas cultural relics, encouraging auction companies to collect Chinese cultural relics overseas, and opening a new channel for the return of national treasures. According to incomplete statistics, from 1995 to 2011, more than 100,000 cultural relics were returned by auction, among which many important cultural relics were won by museums such as the Palace Museum, National Museum, Guotu, Capital Museum, Shanghai Museum, etc., which protected the scattered cultural relics, supplemented the cultural and cultural research, and the cultural relics market emerged. However, all this stopped in early 2012 when customs-imposed duties, value-added taxes or shipping taxes on the returned cultural relics.

2.Unable to develop market.

In recent years, the market of cultural relics and works of art in China is in a slump. With the development of museums and corporate collections, the circulating cultural relics resources will gradually be exhausted. At present, an important way to activate the cultural relics market is to "open the door" and let the diaspora Chinese cultural relics "go home" through the market. According to statistics, there were 15,000 pieces of cultural relics returned by auction in 2011, with a turnover of about 6 billion yuan. The repatriation of cultural relics was greatly affected by the imposition of customs duties in 2012, and this part of the trade was redirected to cities such as New York, London, Paris, Tokyo and Hong Kong.

3.Unable to build cultural confidence.

As one of the four ancient civilizations in the world, China has a splendid culture of 5000 years and many precious cultural heritages, which carry the history and soul of the nation and the country. Cultural relics as the most important material cultural heritage, but because of historical reasons scattered far and wide. Since the reform and opening, China's economic and social development and overall national strength have grown rapidly, and China has become the world's second largest economy. We are fully capable of bringing the cultural relics home through the market and protecting our own cultural relics by ourselves. General Secretary Xi Jinping has pointed out many times that "without a high degree of cultural confidence and cultural prosperity, there will be no great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation. Therefore, cultural relics should not be kept out of the country.


Suggestion

In order to safeguard national dignity, enhance national cultural image and boost China's cultural relic market, and considering the nature that "returning cultural relics" are not "imported foreign goods", the relevant tax policies are proposed as follows: 

1.the tax exemption of "returnee cultural relics" should be included in the Value-added Tax Law, and the VAT of import link should be explicitly exempted. At the same time, the Import and Export Tariff will be adjusted to minimize the tariff on "Artworks, Collections and Antiquities" under Chapter 97, or zero tariff will be imposed on "Artworks, Collections and Antiquities of Chinese Origin".

2.the Tariff Commission of the State Council adjusted the Table of Tariff Rates of Import Duties on Importing Articles, adding "artworks, collectibles and antiquities originating in China" in the section of "Stamps, artworks and collectibles" in the 23000000 section and imposing a zero-tax rate.

3.the Ministry of Finance will take the lead and cooperate with the State Administration of Taxation, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, the State Administration of Cultural Heritage, the General Administration of Customs and relevant industry associations to jointly study specific plans.


(Origin: People Collection Official)