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How to import from China or other countries

Updated: Mar 31, 2020

And with the development of China, many small or big factories appeared in this land which can produce almost any products except some very high-tech products. So we got a great sourcing choice in this country. By the way, many Asian countries are copying these modes to bring incomes. So we don't have to worry about sourcing.

But there is a problem between countries that some countries will protect the local factory and rise the tax or forbid importing some goods. Therefore, we may find the taxes on some goods are so high that there's no profit if importing. So we need to check the law and regulations of the goods you want to import or inquire the professional agents about that.

And last but not least is that we need to know more about the goods and about the market. If you want for your own use, you need to be sure the product meets your requirements. The photos and videos or introduction manuals, cert may be better if the supplier agrees to supply. So just be careful it's the one you need. And if it's for business, you need to investigate the market before starting your purchasing plan. And one or more samples are a must for checking quality. A small sample won't cost a lot but maybe can save you a lot of money in the future. So don't try to save such small money.

So let's check the procedures of importing.

1. Market research

  • If you want the goods for own use, please just ignore it.

  • If it's for business, market research is a must. We need to know if this product is suitable for your local market. We need to know the potential of this product to avoid losing money.

Remark: I think market research always acts as a vital role in a company no matter it's big or small.

2. Customs, law and importing license

This is very important to do preparation in this part. To know about the customs rules about importing and custom cost. To know the laws about this kind of product.

For example,

  • If the goods are small, the customs procedures may be simple.

  • If the goods are big, even you just order one unit for own use, the custom may define this order as business order and charge a lot and need require many certs. In some countries, you will need the importing license to import. So you need an importing agent then.

Remark: To know the rules and laws first. Or you may lose a lot of money.

3. Find suppliers

If you have prepared the above 2 procedures, then it's time to find a supplying partner who can work very well with you. A good supplier can help a lot for you in importing and business.

  • If you want it for own use, a good supplier can recommend a very good product and help you send the goods to you.

  • If it's for your business, good suppliers mean better quality, service, and price. A good supplier can make great suggestions for your business in some field which you may ignore. And they are reliable and honest.

Remark: A bad supplier will lie and do bad after-sale service which will cause disaster to your business. So keep caution and take time to test your suppliers.

4. Find shipment agent

This is also important because shipping agents will take care of your goods from the factory or port to your port or company. We also call them "forwarder" no matter they are shipping agents or air agents or railway agents.

You don't want to let an unreliable guy transport goods for you because you will be worried if the goods will be missing or too much unnecessary charge!

Sometimes the forwarder can provide many suppliers information that can help you save a lot of time. You can find many precious resources from a good and reliable forwarder. And of course, they will bring you great experiences.

Remark: you can ask the supplier to find the forwarder by themselves if you don't want to deal with transport issues.

5. Trade term

Here is the simple instruction of the transport diagram:

Factory→customs declaration→supplier's port→shipping(sea/air/ railway)→customer's port→custom clearance→customer

Here I will list some common terms.

EXW: Ex-works.

You will need to receive the goods from the door of the factory and transport by yourself. Sometimes you can ask the supplier to transport in their country to your forwarder if the cost is small. But it won't save much.

FOB: Cost & freight.

You will receive the goods from the port in the supplier's country and transport it to your country by yourself. The following things are on your own.

Remark: the supplier will take care of the customs procedures on their side.

CNF/CFR: Cost & freight.

You will receive the goods from your local port. And you will do the custom clearance procedures and pay the forwarder local charge both. And then you can transport them to your place on your own methods.

CIF: Cost insurance and freight.

You will receive the goods from your local port. And you will do the custom clearance procedures and pay the forwarder local charge both. And then you can transport them to your place on your own methods.

Remark: Supplier will buy insurance for the order if CIF

DDU: Delivered duty unpaid.

The goods will be sent to your office or home. And the only thing you need to do is receive and sign the paper and pay the customs tax if have

Remark: normally for small product. Suitable for own use order

DDP: Delivered duty paid.

The goods will be sent to your office or home. And the only thing you need to do is receive and sign the paper.

Remark: normally for small products, the supplier will take care of everything before you receive the goods. Suitable for own use order

6. Cash preparation

When you have decided on the product and find the suppliers and forwarders and decided on the trade term, you can figure out the rough total costs. Just inquire them one by one, you will get a rough number. This is not very accurate. But it's pretty close.

So now you need to prepare the cash that the supplier and forwarder can accept. You won't need me to explain how to use them. HAHAHA

Remark: if the cost of all procedures is not profitable, you can ignore this project.

7. Sample order

Here is a small procedure, but very very important. You will need to check the sample before the next steps.

You need to confirm the certs, quality, product appearance, packing, importing tax, etc.

So if the sample is very OK, then it's time to start the bulk order asap.

8. Bulk order

You must have communicated all the detail of the goods since the sample is OK. And you have already reached an agreement with suppliers about the payment details. So after you have confirmed the bulk order with the supplier, the supplier will proceed automatically.

Remark: Confirm all the details and save screenshots. Try your best to use email to store the official messages. This can avoid loss as much as possible if some bad things happened.

9. Custom clearance

When you will receive your goods from your local port, you will get emails or calls from the forwarder. They will show you the process to finish all procedures. There are port release costs and customs cost which are the main cost in this process. And here you need to show them all the files from the supplier like certs, bill of lading, any other files required by customs.

10. Local transport

Here this part, you can take the goods on your own truckor find a carrier to transport for you. I think you can do it very well in your country.

Thanks for reading

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