For quite some time now, China has been the choice country of origin for many different kinds of imported goods — and that shows no immediate signs of slowing down. The good news is that the import/export business is in a period of growth and there is plenty of space for everyone to participate in the industry.
China is one of the top picks for importers because Chinese manufactured products can be sold in the U.S. or online at a healthy price bump.
Like with any kind of importing, careful attention must be paid towards what tariffs, duties, regulations, and documents that you need to be aware of. Any kind of misstep here may result in hefty fines or shipping delays — so please proceed with caution! The specifics of what is required of you as an importer may vary depending on the kind of commercial goods you’re looking at moving into the U.S.
Below, we’re going to outline the main things that you need to know if you want to import goods from China.
1. Choose your commercial goods and ensure it’s legal to import
In a few limited cases, you may select a product that does not meet regulations. But more often than not, the product will be admissible. To ensure that you’ve made the right choice, check the U.S. importing guidelines and China’s exporting laws.
2. Get your documentation in order
First, take the time to identify which permits and/or licences you may need. In some cases, you may not need any. The application process for these will be through various U.S. governmental departments. You can find more information on the licences needed for the different kinds of goods on the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) website.
Please ensure that you wait for your application to be accepted before you place your order for import!
3. Determine if you’ll need a helping hand
While choosing to be an independent importer is a very entrepreneurial act, you have to be able to identify areas of business where you’ll need outside help.
Customs brokers can make the importation process go a lot smoother. A broker streamlines communication between you and the appropriate government bodies, help you understand import/export regulations, and even fill the required paperwork out for you!
4. Send out your Importer Security Filing (ISF or 10+2)
This is a document that provides information about your shipment to U.S. Customs in advance of receiving. Another important thing to note here: this document needs to be filed the day before your shipment leaves the port. Without this document filed, you will be subject to a large fine. For more information, check out the CBP website.
5. File other required import documents
Now that your commercial goods have arrived at the destination port, you have only 5 days to submit your documentation. These must be accepted by CBP before you file any other documents (or the import is cleared). These documents include: Bill of lading (BOL), packing list, commercial invoice, certificate of origin, the customs bond, and delivery form.
6. Time to arrange for pick-up!
Congratulations! Your imported goods have made it all the way from China. Now, to pick it up, you’ll have to work with a commercial cargo company to have your goods transported to a warehouse or to your resellers directly.
You need not be intimidated by this process! It may be a tricky thing to get a handle on at first, but it is indeed worth your time to figure out the process of moving goods from China and clearing customs in the U.S.
It is a profitable venture, and if done correctly with the correct compliance, you will succeed at building out your import business and importing goods with ease.
To get in touch with a customs broker to get the conversation rolling, click here.