China’s eCommerce market has significantly grown over the past half a decade. It has become one of the world’s favorite import and shipping destinations.
For most people, however, shipping to China is still a great challenge. This is because of their strict policies regarding the import of international products.
Below, we have combined 15 tips to help you understand these policies and streamline your shipping process to China.
The Chinese customs authority is strict on documentation. You, therefore, need to ensure that your documents are updated, accurate, and compliant with the customs duties’ regulations.
Your documents should include the relevant details of the recipient, such as the address and personal information. Your sender information should also be precise.
Without the correctly detailed documents, your packages might be sent back or remain held at customs. At times, you might even be required to write a letter explaining your reasons for the shipping.
To avoid this, ensure that you’ve completed all your paperwork beforehand.
Learn the prohibition laws
Like any other country, China has a list of goods and products that cannot be shipped into the country. This includes items that don’t meet their regulations or those that criticize their political and cultural beliefs.
Some of the common prohibited items include; Ivory, Tobacco, Perfumes, Dairy, Ammunitions, Animals (whether dead or alive), Medicines and most cosmetic products. These are but a few of the restricted products.
The Chinese customs authority continually updates the list of these products and so, look into China’s customs website to find out what’s legal and what’s not.
Use a Reputable and Trusted company
When shipping your package to China for the first time, it’s recommended you trust the process of a reputable shipping company.
This is because the company will help you identify the documents you need, as well as inform you of the custom and import laws you need to comply with.
A good company has a proven track record of shipping services to China and has the license to operate in the country.
Depending on your location, China can be quite a distance. You, therefore, need to have a robust packaging method for the safety of your products.
If you are shipping fragile goods, you need to invest in strong outer packaging such as double corrugated cardboard. You can also use bubble wraps for internal cushioning.
Extra packaging material should be used in filling the spaces in your box for additional safety. Nonetheless, avoid overfilling the package box.
Know the Import Taxes
China charges import taxes for different items at different rates. Some products are taxed higher than others, while other items like personal effects may go uncharged.
It all depends on the contents of your package. However, you are limited in the number of personal items you can ship to the country. Check out China’s import custom duties and tax overview to be prepared for the taxes imposed on your goods.
For clearance of your package, you’ll need to provide a customs invoice. This invoice indicates the contents of your package, it’s origin country and the value of the products.
If your package is less than 500 Yuan, it can go duty-free. Products higher than that price will be liable to fees ranging from 20-30% of the goods’ value.
Look for Cost-Effective Shipping Options
Using a flight carrier for your shipment makes it more costly, although it is faster and more efficient. It’s thus perfect when sending urgent packages.
If the items you’re shipping are not urgent, you can always opt for sea freight. The option is much cheaper than air freight but will take more days, maybe weeks or months!
Label your package correctly
Before shipping to China, ensure that your labeling for the packages is correct. Be sure to fill out the Pro-forma invoice that describes all products in your package. Copies of this form should be clearly attached to the outer case of your package.
Doing this ensures that the customs officers don’t have to open up your packages for inspection. It also fastens the custom clearance process.
Budget for Hidden Costs
More often than not, you will receive an invoice from your courier with surprise costs you hadn’t foreseen. You should be prepared for them.
These costs occur in the form of shipment related expenses like fuel surcharges, Pick-up location surcharges, or Personal mistake surcharges (Inaccurate delivery address, return fees, etc.).
It may also result from Package handling related charges, where you’re charged more when shipping dangerous/fragile products, or when your package weighs more than the courier’s standard weight and size.
The materials and shapes used for your products might also result in extra costs.
Track Your Package
China is a vast and extensive country. This makes delivering packages around quite a pickle. You thus need to find a way to track the package until it reaches its destination.
A shipping company with proper tracking systems can quickly do this for you. Hiring one such company means you’ll receive updates on your package shipment regularly hence reducing the chances of loss.
Package Collection Procedures with Customs
Package collection at customs is one of the best ways to save on shipping costs. If your recipient lives closer to towns, have them collect your package at the customs clearance office. This lowers the price you’d have spent on the door to door delivery and other extra charges.
However, it may not be effective for recipients in rural areas.
Take extra care when Packing foodstuffs
Chinese customs authorities also take food regulation policies seriously. They’ve set up a few regulations that your food package should meet if it’s to go into the country.
Some of the basic rules include:
- Foodstuffs should have at least six months of shelf life.
- The food should be in its original packaging container.
- Outline and Define Food Products Properly.
- Tampering with food products is prohibited.
Unless it’s a ‘personal effect’, shipping electronic products must have the China Compulsory Certifications to be cleared past customs. The receiver has to obtain this certification from the China Inspection and Quarantine Services.
This rule applies to smartphones, laptops, cameras, among other electronic devices. You should, therefore, research or inquire about the affected devices before shipping.
Understand the ‘Personal effects’ policy
While most items are taxed when shipping, China sets an exception for personal effects. You are however required to submit some extra documentation for these items.
You also have a limit for the value of personal items you can bring into the country. If the amount of your items is more than 1000CNY, then tax and duties are applicable.
Processing these items can take 24-48 hours at the customs clearance due to the extra documents required.
Obtain multiple quotes from different Shipping Companies
Different shipping companies have different rates for specific package delivery. Some companies are much cheaper than others but vary in the number of services offered.
Therefore, take time to look into shipping companies’ websites and get to know their prices. It’s also essential to look into the services offered by low-priced companies. Most times, the cheaper option is not a better option.
Send your package early
Depending on the content and purpose of your package, the custom clearance delays will vary. Items meant for personal use may take a shorter processing time than those intended for sale, or vice versa. The quantity of your package will also affect the delay.Some packages take a day, some weeks and other months, to be cleared by the customs authority.
Therefore, to ensure that your package is delivered at the right time, send it earlier in advance.
China is one destination you can’t afford to miss for both business and pleasure. It offers a wealth of opportunities to explore. You’ll, therefore, gain a lot by shipping your products to the country.
For assistance with your shipping to China, Vital worldwide Logistics is always ready to help. We provide all shipping services ranging from Air carrier, Ocean Cargo, Trucking and even Small Package Carrier.
With the vast experience and powerful networks we’ve built in the industry, you can rest assured that your package is secure and will be delivered on time by our team.
All in all, by following the tips mentioned above, you will never go wrong with shipping to China!