China has been ranked as the world’s biggest exporter of goods since 2009, with official estimates putting annual Chinese exports in the region of $1.904 trillion.
Importing from China has worked wonders for many businesses across the globe, with lower-priced supplies giving them the competitive edge they need to be successful. China is a major exporter of a variety of products including shoes, clothing, electronics, tea and rice.
However, importing from China is not a simple process – especially for those new to the routine, it can be rather confusing and costly. If you don’t know what you’re doing, expected gains can become losses. Long transit times, regulatory fees, and unexpected delays are a nightmare for any business.
But there’s no need to worry, we’ve got you covered!
Our guide to importing from China outlines everything you need to know to make sure the process is as simple and stress free as possible for you.
Ensure Desired Goods Are Permitted Into Your Country
Once you have identified what you wish to import, should check if it’s legal to import it into your country. Different countries have different lists of prohibited products.
For example, Kinder Eggs are banned in the U.S. and people caught bringing them in from another country can face fines. Some goods you intend to import may also be subject to permits, quotas or restrictions by your government.
For example, in order to keep prices stable for farmers, Canada blocks imports of dairy produce from other countries by imposing tariffs – of up to 270%!
Find Your Supplier And Place Your Order
Once you know your goods can be imported, it’s time to place your order.
It’s crucial that you find the right supplier to ensure quality goods and a seamless delivery process. One key tip we can offer you when importing from China is to be wary of low prices.
If you come across a quote that is significantly lower than the others, it may be too good to be true. In China, the lowest price usually accompanies with it a high risk of quality.
Ensure you double-check the materials and the manufacturing process of your desired goods. You should always feel confident in the products you are purchasing. Also, make sure your supplier has totally confirmed every spec of your target product, including the packaging.
Once you have selected your supplier, request a Proforma Invoice (P/I) for your prospective purchases to include the harmonized system number, description and value per item. Your P/I must show the weight & the packed dimensions as well as your terms of purchase.
For more tips, check out our post: How To Find The Best Suppliers And Manufacturers In China
Classify Your Goods, Then Pay For Them
When importing from China, you will need to find the correct commodity code for your goods. Otherwise, you won’t be able to fill out customs paperwork accurately. This 10-digit tariff classification number will need to be sourced for each item you are importing.
These numbers along with the Certificate of Origin are used to determine the rate of duty you must pay when importing.
You should add up the following costs to get your total cost of importing:
- The product price from the supplier
- Shipping charges from a Chinese freight forwarding company
- The charges of customs clearance, duty and tax
- Land transport to your premises
Arrange The Transport Of Your Goods
The first thing you should do is ensure your supplier will ship from their nearest port or airport. This will help reduce shipping costs and give you more control over the shipment.
Keep in mind shipping by ocean is a slow process. More long-term planning is required than for domestic product purchases. Importing from China can take quite some time. The process includes shipping time, gathering of documentation, inland travel, customs clearance and port/terminal handling.
On average, goods shipped from China take around 14 days to reach the West Coast of the US and around 30 days to reach the East Coast. In general, it is recommended to place orders at a minimum 3 months before you need your goods on site.
Obtain Your Shipment
While waiting for your goods, you should check your commercial invoice, packing list, the bill of lading, and other related freight documents. If problems arise, you should know the steps your goods go through when being cleared by Customs in your country.
Once your goods arrive, make arrangements for your customs broker to clear them through customs (and quarantine if applicable). If everything goes well, it is your right to pick up your shipment.
If you choose a delivery service, you can just wait for your shipment to arrive at your designated drop-off point.
What Is The Best Way To Pay Suppliers In China?
Sometimes finding a supplier is the easy part, as sending money to China can be stressful. Sending money internationally can be expensive, thanks to the high fees and unfair exchange rates that are charged by banks.
Wire transfers also take days, if not weeks, to be processed and can involve physically going to a bank and filling out forms, especially for large payments.
Here at REMITR, we eradicate all of these problems.
Our B2B service allows you to send money to over 150 countries worldwide. And all within 1 business day, for as little as just $5! We also use the best live Foreign Exchange rate so not only do you save on fees, but also get the best exchange rate for your money – regardless of banking hours.
Using REMITR you can also pay your suppliers in their local currency. This ensures they pay no wire receiving fees or exchange conversion fees to receive the funds into their account.
Our 24/7 service means that banking hours and time zones no longer act as a border between you and doing business internationally.
Time is money – save them both by signing up with REMITR today.