Import from China to Australia

Import from China to Australia: The Ultimate Guide

I know you want to import from China to Australia that’s why you’re here.

So, whether you want to know the mode of shipping, cost, best time, restricted goods or what to import from China to Australia – all the vital information you’re looking for is right here.

Keep reading to learn more.

Products to Import from China to Australia

Are you wondering what kind of products you can import from China to Australia, well there a range of products.

From shoes to electronics, cars jewelry construction material name them.

Generally speaking, Australia lags behind most Western countries when it comes to production.

Could be because manufacturing in Australia is expensive especially for a new business or a small scale business.

From designing, production, packaging, getting the best machines it’s just a hustle.

Hence they import from China to ease the process.

Importing products from China to Australia has by all means been a significant source of income to the country.

As an investor in the business, it is advisable to first import a small number of goods, test the waters and see how the business will fare before making a substantial commitment.

 Imports China to Australia

Imports from China to Australia

Importing Clothes from China to Australia

China is a large manufacturer of garments.

In fact, it’s one of the World’s best producers of clothing materials worldwide.

They produce quality clothes in bulk, at a low price, and export them.

Most clothes are brought to Australia by sea because they do not need special care.

However, some such as wedding gowns are shipped by air freight.

Very few restrictions are put in place for clothes getting into Australia.

Moreover, clothes containing formaldehyde and AZO dyes are banned from entering the country.

Importing Toys from China to Australia

The level of creativity in China is insane.

They have a wide range of gargets including infant toys, puzzles, toy guns, games, etc.

They are imported by sea freight.

Infants and kids are very delicate beings.

Hence Australia has put in place very strict rules and regulations to ensure their safety.

It worth noting that it’s challenging to get the certification of the toys you are intending to import.

Note the size and the weight of the toys will determine the size of the container to use in shipping. S

pecial toys can be transported by air.

In short, you can import virtually any item from China to Australia.

Restricted Imports from China to Australia

Different countries have different rules and regulations.

Australia is big on quality, hence it has regulations on products that might pose threat to its citizens.

Regulated products include;

  • Alcohol
  • Tea and coffee
  • Tobacco and cigarette,
  • Health and cosmetics
  • Children toys
  • Food, groceries, and beverages

Here is a full list of restricted imports to Australia.

Note in case you import goods that don’t meet the regulations set by the customs, you could face penalties.

In a worst-case scenario, your goods may be detained or destroyed.

Prohibited Imports from China to Australia

If you are a new importer, you need to familiarize yourself with goods that are not allowed in Australia.

The list of items prohibited in Australia is updated after a while.

It is therefore advisable to review the list often.

This may help you avoid paying hefty fines or goods being taken away.

Prohibited products in Australia include;

  • Weapons
  • Hazardous goods
  • Drugs, medicine
  • Biological agents
  • Asbestos
  • Goods bearing the word ANZAC

Here is a full list of all prohibited imports to Australia.

Now during the Covid-19 pandemic, they have new regulations prohibiting hand sanitisers, facemasks, gowns, goggles, alcohol wipes, etc.

Documents you need to Import from China for Australia

Before getting a golden opportunity to import products from China, some formalities are required.

Every importer must submit the following documents to the customs office before starting to trade.

It’s worth noting that you are required to provide them in time.

The import documents may vary from one importer to the other depending on the kind of products you are intending to import.

Documents required include:


Import documents

i. Fumigation Certificate (SAD)

SAD was there long before COVID-19!

This document is issued by the country’s sanitary authorities or the customs authorities.

It verifies that exported goods say cereals and vegetables stuffing etc. have been fumigated.

Fumigation is necessary because it protects the local flora and ensures pets don’t move from country to country.

ii. The Import License

This document is issued by the officials in charge of to exact product you intent to import.

It shows the data of commercial and financial details of the goods you have imported the importer, the exporter, the native country, the manufacturer of the product, and the cost of payment method.

iii. The Bill of Landing (BIL, BOL)

It’s a document that contains the shipment of a commodity issued by the shipping company.

It helps you to identify your product and the information about your goods by issuing them with titles.

It contains information showing the shipper, consignee, place of delivery container (s) number and also gives a clear description of goods.

BIL can be used as proof of shipment for customs and insurance companies.

It can also be issue to a bank as proof so that the seller can bring about a letter of credit.

The document can as well be sent to the buyer to seal the business by paying off the contract.

iv. Air Way Bill (AWB)

It’s a receipt issued by an airline to show goods have been transported.

It is prepared by the authorized agent or an airline, electronically.

They contain a serial number that can be used to check shipment status.

An international airway bill combined with cargo is referred to as master Air Way Bills (MAWB)

v. The Certificate of Origin

It’s a document issued by the exporter that shows specific details of goods.

Where they have been obtained, produced, manufactured, and processed.

Generally speaking, there are two types of Certificate of Origin.


It gives specific details and places where goods we produced, even though the goods cannot be subjected to treatment.


This document shows goods were produced in a country with a trade agreement with our very own country.

vi. Commercial Invoice

It is an official payment note prepared by the exporter used as a customs declaration.

It is meant to declare the imported products are in your proclamation.

It identifies the exporter, importer, the HS Code, invoice number, net weight, and gross quantity, and the total freight price.

Common mistakes made on an invoice such as undervalued, where the seller avoids some formalities, can easily be noticed.

Customs are very keen on the commercial invoice they may withhold your goods. Be careful.

vii. Proof of Import

This document is issued after going through customs.

It’s issued after all your documents have been confirmed.

Proof of import is basically the official document you receive in the final stage to prove the nationalization of your imported products.

Note some products have more restrictions to avoid biosecurity hazards

In case you are importing such products, the Australian customs and quarantine require some documents for such unique goods.

If you are importing medicine, you need a certified medical prescription.

Documents that encounter legal requirements for acceptance of our unique products.

MSDS document in case the commodity is unsafe.

viii. Packing List

It is also referred to as the Way Bill shipping list.

It a list containing packaging information of all shipped goods put together by the shipping company.

It describes the content of goods to all the parties involved.

You are required to show a packing list to the Australian government showing

Any applicable shipping marks used.

The number of packages including a list of how packaging was done.

Total net weight and gross weight of cargo and their measurements.

ix. Single Administrative Document (SAD)

SAD is prepared by the importer. It’s a documentary basis of customs declaration in the EU, Swaziland, Norway, and Iceland.

SAD is used for the trade of non-EU goods with the EU or if you are trading with third counters.

x. CITES Permit

This a document issued by the National CITES Management Authorities.

It issues means that the import of goods is complaisant with international wildlife protection regulation.

You should have this document if you are importing goods listed on the CITES list.

Failure to which you will face the consequences.

xi. Import/Export Declaration

This document is prepared by the importer/exporter.

It’s a list of imported/exported goods required by customs officials sometimes.

The form differs depending on the requirements of a particular custom office.

xii. CE Certificate

It’s a document that is concerned with health and safety.

It ensures products are complaisant with EU laws and directives.

It’s acquired by notified bodies. Only specific institutions are allowed to conduct CE assessment.

This document is not required in all cases.

However, the producer can self-verify their products in certain cases while in others an independent quality checking procedure is required.

xiii. Proforma Invoice

It’s a document put together by the exporter.

It serves to give detailed information concerning shipment in terms of the type of products shipped, their size, and other features.

Even though it’s not an invoice, it’s considered a legal binding agreement because it contains the final pricing.

This helps the importer to decide on their financial purchase easily.

Customs officers in some countries may accept proforma invoices and allow you to submit a commercial invoice later.

In the US for example the proforma invoice is used by the customs to access duty.

Financial institutions such as banks may accept proforma invoice to create a letter of credit on the importer

Understanding Taxes when Importing from China to Australia

Taxes are inevitable. Once you import goods from China to Australia, they will definitely attract taxes.

Before importing or exporting goods ensure you familiarize yourself with tariff costs.

If you are not sure, consult Customs Authorities for help.

Some taxes are paid by everyone while others you pay import duties based on particular types of goods you have imported.

Below are some of the taxes you may be required to pay;

i. Processing charge- This is paid for every shipment made in Australia.

ii. GST- Goods and Service Tax is levied on 10% of import duty, the value of goods, insurance, and transport cost.

iii. VAT- Duty charged on goods that are manufactured in the country. Sometimes importers are required to pay VAT and tariff at the same time.

iv. Exercise tax- This duty is not charged on all items but some such as wine and jewelry.

Concession on Import Duty when Importing from China to Australia.

 China Australia trade agreement

China Australia Trade Agreement

In 2015 Australia and China signed a Free Trade Agreement.

The trade ensured smooth investment by eliminating barriers in the business.

Through this agreement, some goods can enter Australia for free or at a reduced tariff.

The agreement is of great benefit to the traders; it has ensured delayed duty.

However, all the benefits occur if you import goods that are not being manufactured in Australia.

Importers can enjoy a 0% duty rate on most of the goods they import.

In a bid to support local manufacturers, Australia has come up with the following schemes:

  • Delayed duty in the custom warehouse
  • Tariff concession system
  • Certain input to manufacturer program ( CIM)
  • Tariff concession system
  • Tradex schemes

Cost of Importing from China to Australia

Many factors affect the price of products from Australia to China.

From location to size, shipping mode, sea FCL, sea LCL, air or express

As an Australian importer, buying goods from China is an incredible opportunity.

You will end up spending a fraction of what you would have had you manufactured the same products in Australia.

Nevertheless, you need to understand additional costs that may be added to the cost price of your goods. Below are some of the taxes and duties.

i. Shipping Costs

Shipping from China to Australia freight charges depend on whether the goods are full container(FCL) or less than container (LCL).

The fee depends on the weight of your goods in cubic meters.

Ensure you get the exact weight of your products in cubic meters from your manufacturer once they have been packaged.

The cost of renting FCL depends on the month you are intending on importing your goods.

For LCL your pay range is $150 to $250 per cm3 depending on the size and weight of your goods.

ii. Custom Value

The customs value of goods is based on the free on board(FOB) price of goods.

FOB simply means the manufacturer has cleared exports and goods have been loaded on the ship, hence all the risks and responsibilities involved are up to the buyer.

FOB prices of goods include

  • Export clearance
  • Transport to port
  • Unit price

Note the custom value is not inclusive of the cost of shipping to Australia or the cost of shipping insurance.

iii. Custom Duty

Your custom duty depends on the kind of products you are importing,

Most goods imported from China are put through a 5% duty.

The amount will still depend on the customs value of your shipment

For example, if your custom value is $10000 and your shipment is subjected to a 5% duty rate,

$10000 × 5/100 =$500

you will pay $500

iv. Goods and Services Tax (GST)

For goods imported in Australia under $1000, you do not pay for 10% GTS.

However, for those above $1000, you will be required to pay 10% GTS whether you are GST registered or not.

If your business is GST registered, you have an advantage, you can postpone the GST payment if you take part in a deferred GST scheme.

Such businesses can defer payment until they submit their first activity statement once they have received goods.

GST is calculated as 10% of the total shipping cost.


Custom value= $10000

Custom duty= 5% of custom value


Shipping fee=$1500



= $12070

GTS=10% ×12070


It worth noting, these are just hypothetical numbers.

They do not reflect the actual shipping costs incurred when importing from China to Australia.

Equally, it’s not inclusive of the cost price of the product.

These are not the only duties and taxes you may be required to pay.

Duties and taxes may vary depending on the products.

Best Time to Import from China to Australia

Importing from China to Australia

Importing from China to Australia

Interestingly, there are seasons in international trade.

Prices differ depending on the month you are importing your products from China to Australia.

Freight rates especially FCL sea and air freight are affected by seasonal factors.

There are peak and off-peak seasons.

Peak seasons

 Peak season

The table above shows peak seasons for shipping from China to Australia.

October seems to be the best month to import from China to Australia.

Besides, General Rates Increase(GRI) are introduced at the beginning of a month.

Towards the middle of the month, while they are busy loading supplies on vessels, they reduce the prices.

This means if you book in the middle of the month, you can save money.

How to Import from Alibaba to Australia

Alibaba stock is one of the market place importers from Australia shop.

It is China’s largest online commerce business.

It is a website like eBay but mostly deals with wholesalers and manufacturers.

Before importing you need to understand how Alibaba work.

Alibaba is a site with two types of sellers.

  • Factory sellers- These are the actual producers of goods.
  • Trading company- These are middlemen in the business. They link the factory to buyers.

Before settling with either seller, consider the relationship you are willing to have with your seller and for how long. Also, your previous experience if at all you have one.

Dealing with a factory directly is cheaper than involving trading companies, they will charge you.

Note the minimum order quantity of goods is high on Alibaba.

Tips you need to implement while importing from Alibaba.



i. While choosing a manufacturer on Alibaba, go for the ones with a badge. Check their reviews and how many years they have been in the industry.

ii. Contact as many suppliers as possible and ensure you give all of them clear details of the products; dimension, quantity.

Back up your details with a sample image. If you are not sure of the quantity you need, use a live chat option on the supplier website.

If the supplier is online, it shows they are legit and they have enough workforce to serve you.

iii. Create samples- Before putting all your eggs in one basket, create a sample and order. The quality of goods may differ from the samples

iv. Get orders with tracking irrespective of the shipping means you will use to transport your products.

v. Ensure labelling and packaging is done once to avoid shipping separately or consulting a different supplier. Ask them to recommend to you to reliable packaging companies.

Besides, most sellers sell products under a contract.

Make sure you sign an agreement before you seal the deal so that in case of anything, there will be terms that will help you solve the issue.

Remember to apply for a trademark to be able to sell your goods as your brand.

Ensure you research before coming up with a brand name.

Do I still need to pay tax while importing from Alibaba?

The answer is yes or no.

Goods imported will be liable to duties and taxes if they are above $1000.

You may not be required to pay taxes or duties for goods less than $1000.

If your goods will arrive at their destination via international mail, there will be no charges.

Nevertheless, if they are air or sea freight, you or your agent will be expected to make an Assessment Clearance Declaration.

Handling Customs Clearance Process when Importing from China to Australia

This is the most complex process yet mandatory. No wonder most people opt to hire a freight forwarder.

Customs clearance is an important process because before your goods are passed in or out of your country, they must meet clearance requirements.

 Australia Customs

 Australia Customs

To avoid delays at the port, ensure goods have met the required standards and you have the necessary documentation.

There are four main types of customs clearance.

  • Air freight-it clears cargo at airports
  • Rail freight-clear cargo at the borders with international rail lines.
  • Sea freight- clears cargo at the seaports
  • Express freight-it clears all international companies.

The custom authorities provide custom tariff codes to importers and exported to help them organize their long list of goods.

So, how long does Custom Clearance take?

How long it may take depends on some factors like congestion, lack of cargo description, incomplete shipping information, maybe the client file is missing, or if the client lacks shipping documents.

Ideally, it may take 1-2 days or even more depending on the season.

During summer, it may take longer.

Custom clearance fees involved may include custom duty, exercise, VAT, etc.

The importer is responsible for paying the custom clearance fee.

Below are steps you can follow in a nutshell to complete the clearance process successfully.

i. Check whether your goods are prohibited or not.

ii. Ensure your goods have the right HS Code.

iii. Liaise with customs to ensure you have all the documents.

iv. Hand over all your documents with the fees to your clearing agent.

Benefits of ChinaAustralia Free Trade Agreement when Importing from China to Australia.

 China Australia signing trade agreement

China Australia Signing Trade Agreement

After a long period of a strong partnership, China and Australia signed a Free Trade Agreement (ChAFTA) on June 17, 2015. The agreement was enforced on December 20, 2015.

It was meant to strengthen the economic relationship Australia has with China.

The law is a win-win for both nations. Australia can enjoy free trade while China opens up and grows its domestic market to potential customers.

China views the law as an opportunity for them to intermingle with the international economy as well as strengthening the political abilities.

China recognizes Australia as the most favoured nation (MFN).

Importers and exporters have benefited from the agreement in the following ways;

i. They have reduced tariffs of 30% on products like meat, seafood’s and wine

ii. Importers can buy products from abroad at an affordable price and resell them at a profit.

iii. Australia has removed tariffs on some goods like coal.

iv. Buyers are allowed to buy goods from China with no tax charges.

v. Importers enjoy a substantial reduction of tariffs on goods

vi. Australian companies are the greatest stakeholders in China’s joint venture.

How China-Australia Trade Tensions Affect Exporting from China to Australia

The disagreement between China and Australia started back in 2018 when Australia banned China Huawei from its 5G network publicly.

Australia suggested holding China responsible for the outbreak of COVID-19 that originated from Wuhan.

China is Australia’s largest trading partner, their largest export destination, and the place where they source their most imports.

Clearly, the Australian economy needs China to thrive.

The beef has built quite a friction in on the issue. These tit for tat game is making the situation uglier.

China was able to replace its suppliers faster however Australia has lost billions of dollars in the shipment of products.

China inflicted an anti-dumping duty of 73.6% and anti-subsidy duty of 6.9% on Australian barley.

On 27th November china imposed a duty of 107-212% on the Australian win claiming that its causing damage to their wine industry.

China used to import most of its coal from Australia. However, they stopped.

They instead signed a three-year agreement with  Indonesia to import $1.5 billion worth of coal.

They did this without informing Australian authorities because their ships were seen stranded in China ports for weeks.

This push and pull between these two countries is likely to continue for long.

Maybe until their pain for losses balances maybe they can settle their differences.

Sadly, even if they reunite, their economic relationship may never be the same again.

Maybe it’s time for Australia to learn the effects of depending on one marker(china) excessively and look for other suppliers.

Using Sea Freight from China to Australia

Sea freight is the most common and the cheapest means of shipping heavy goods in bulk.

Your freight forwarder or supplier may advise you on the best ports to use based on transit time, your destination, or ease of customs clearance.

Shipping Containers to use in Sea Freight from China to Australia

Types of shipping container

Types of shipping container

Shipping containers come in different sizes and shapes.

The standard sizes are 20 and 40 ft long that open from one end.

Chooses containers according to the nature of goods you are importing.

Sea Ports in China

Main seaports in China include;

  • Shangai
  • Ningo-zhoushan
  • Shenzhen
  • Xiamen
  • Shekou

Sea Ports in Australia

  • Sydney
  • Melbourne
  • Adelaide
  • Fremantle
  • Brisbane

Using Air Freight from China to Australia

 Choose air freight if the goods you are importing are perishable, delicate, or in case of any urgency.

Main Airports in China

They include;

  • Wuhan
  • Hong Kong
  • Chengudu Shuangliu
  • Shanghai pudong
  • Beijin Daxing

Main Airports in Australia

They include;

  • Sydney
  • Perth
  • Gold coast
  • Darwin
  • Cairns

Airlines to use when Importing from China to Australia

They include

  • China Airlines
  • Air China
  • China Southern Airlines (CZ)
  • China Eastern Airlines (MU)
  • Alliance Airline

Express Shipping from China to Australia

It is also referred to as international courier or express freight.

It is used for small shipments. It is the fastest and cheapest way to ship cargo under 100kg.

Moreover, every international courier has its limits, size, and regulations.

It is considered the most efficient shipping method; everything is handled by one company from picking cargo to delivering it.

How Door to Door Shipping from China to Australia Work

Door to door shipping is where the freight forwarder handles everything on behalf of the importer.

They pick goods, file the necessary paperwork, transport and deliver goods to the importer.

You receive goods at the comfort of your home.

Sounds goods, right?

Door to door shipping is quick and the safest shipping method.

It saves you time, effort, it efficient and above all saves you time hence you can focus on other things.

Door to door shipping is of three types;

  • Door to door sea shipping- The freight forwarder transports goods from international oceans to the required destination
  • Airfreight door to door from china- Freight forwarder helps to speed up your goods transit from china.
  • Rail freight door to door shipping-Such services are offered to people importing from countries sharing borders.

Steps on how the door to door shipping works:

i. The importer sources for goods of interest, the manufacturer, communicates with him/her, seals the deal, and places an order

ii. The importer contacts a shipping agent for a door to door freight forwarder.

iii. The freight forwarder picks cargo from the manufacturer, loads on the track, and transports it to either seaport, airport, or railway line. Depends on the mean of transport you intend to use.

iv. The freight forwarder issues all the paperwork required and clears customs

v. The freights forwarder loads cargo on vessels, makes all necessary arrangements, and ensures all is in order.

vi. Once the cargo gets to your country, the agent handles custom clearance and pays tariffs. The cargo is loaded on a truck to your preferred destination according to the address you provided.

 Door to door shipping model

Door to door shipping model

How Drop Shipping from China to Australia Works

Dropshipping is where the buyer places an order, the seller then forwards the details and cash to the manufacturer then he/she send the goods directly to the customer.

Once goods are ready, they are shipped to the buyer without necessarily passing through the importer.

Businesses basically sell goods without stocking them.

The seller acts as the middle person.

The seller charges the buyer a higher amount than the actual cost price of the products.

Once they settle the payment and the drop shipper has been paid the seller keeps the other amount.

The seller may choose to pay the drop shipper after every milestone or after a certain number of orders.

This depends on the relationship the seller has with the drop shipper and how long they have worked together.

The manufacturer has the advantage of not having to market their goods; the seller takes care of that.

The seller on the other hand doesn’t need a lot of capital.

Equally, they have location independence; they can work from anywhere.

Steps on how dropshipping works;

i. The buyer places an order and pays for it. Money is deposited in the online shop bank account.

ii. The seller passes the order to the manufacturer.

iii. The drop shipper manufactures the goods. In case the ordered goods are ready, he/she ships the order.

iv. Once the shipment gets to the buyer’s destination, the buyer gets a notification via message and then receives their goods.

Dropshipping is a great business opportunity though risky at the same time. The business can thrive if;

  • The seller sells unique products not easily found online.
  • The seller has a good relationship with the producer.
  • Goods pass through an intermediate partner rather than directly to the buyer
  • The seller ensures the products they are selling meet the regulation of the consumer’s country.

How to Track Goods when Importing from China to Australia

Goods take time to get to your destination depending on the means of shipping you use.

As an importer, it’s normal to feel insecure and curious about how exactly your goods are faring.

Luckily you can keep track of them.

If you have hired a freight forwarder, you need not worry, they got you covered.

Moreover, you can track your goods by yourself on the website.

All you need to provide is a declaration and verification code.

You will be able to track your goods at all critical stages and receive notifications instantly.

You can see where your assets are at any given time.

Best Incoterms to use when Importing from China to Australia

Incoterms are basically agreements by the exporter and the importer.

They are put in place to protect the two parties.

Buyers should consider having incoterms before the contract is sealed to avoid unnecessary complications in the future.

Here are some of the best incoterms you can implement;

i. FOB– Free On Board agreement dictates the seller will transport cargo from the factory to the vessel. Thereafter the full responsibility is transferred from the buyer until goods get to their final destination

ii. EX Works– Here the seller has more responsibilities than the buyer. It states the seller will deliver goods to the buyer’s location.

iii. DDP– Delivery Duty Paid- It states that the exporter has to organize, transport, and ship goods to the buyer’s destination. He/she is required to make all logistical agreements and pay for the costs.

iv. DDU– Delivery Duty Unpaid- This is the vice versa of DDP. Here the buyer is only expected to pay for costs of import duty tax. The seller takes care of the rest.

v. CIF-Cost Insurance and Freight Cost. This is the most important term of international trade agreed upon by two parties. It is supported by the seller.

vi. CFR– means under Cost and Freight terms. The seller bears the full cost of shipping the cargo while on the other side the buyer endures clearing cost of cargo once it gets to the port of destination.

Role of Freight Forwarder when you Import from China to Australia

A Freight Forwarder can either be an individual or an agency that acts as an intermediary between the importer and the supplier.

Some of their roles include;

i. Sourcing of products- Freight forwarders help importers source quality products from authentic suppliers. They save you the hustle of researching online or even visiting China in person.

ii. Custom Clearance – They of course help you handle the most stressful process which is Custom clearance smoothly

iii. Pick and delivery- They pick goods from the supplier or factory and ensure they deliver them in a good state.

iv. Packaging- They package cargo on your behalf before shipping; bearing in mind the Australian regulations

v. They offer 1-2 months free warehouse- Sounds too good to be true?

Yes, they help you with the temporary storage of goods while waiting for your supplier to finish manufacturing and loading cargo.

This is a win-win for both of you and your supplier. It helps them save on space.

vi. They offer the distribution of goods that need to be picked or delivered.

vii. Loading and supervision- They are usually on the ground to ensure your cargo is handled with care when being loaded to the means of transport provided.

Freight forwarders can either make or break your business.

Research thoroughly to get the best.

Note they don’t transport cargo themselves, they only handle logistics on your behalf.

Labelling and Packaging Requirements when Exporting from China to Australia?

Apparently, not all imported goods need labeling.

However, those that require, the labelling should be done correctly bearing trade descriptions before being shipped.

Goods with false or misleading labels may be taken away.

The Commerce (Trade description) Act 1905- Act and The Commerce (Trade description) 2016- regulation, give a detailed description of the goods that should have labels, what labels, and exactly where they should be attached.

Trade description in simple terms means details, statements, suggestions done directly or indirectly showing goods were either manufactured, selected, or packed goods.

The trade description must include;

  • The country of origin
  • Simple English in readable characters
  • Details of goods if necessary

For goods sealed on a box, items don’t need to be labeled individually; one after the other.

The package is labeled according to the requirements of the imported goods.

The label should be attached permanently where it can be seen.

Sample marking and labelling

Sample marking and labeling

How to Check Quality of Product Before You Import from China to Australia

You know the phrase ‘what you order versus what you get?

This is what I am talking about.

Sadly, not all suppliers walk their talk.

They may promise you heaven and in return give you poor quality products.

You may assume the quality check of the factory team is enough but it may not be the case.

Could be because of poor quality standards, lack of test equipment, or even lack of trained personnel.

Similarly, their definition of quality may be different from yours.

To ensure the products you are getting are quality, it’s advisable to visit China in person; if it’s within your budget.

Ask someone you trust to visit the manufacturer on your behalf or hire a third party to help you inspect the products.

You can inspect or hire an inspector to do pre-production inspection, in-process and pre-shipping inspection. Ensure they are familiar with the products.

Better yet you can ask for a prototype. This is done before you make a huge order.

The prototype will help you gauge the quality of the product before making the actual order.

Give a detailed description to ensure they deliver the sample the way you expect.

You will pay to ship the sample to your location, but it’s worth it.

Check the prototype to ensure it’s exactly what you expected.

Otherwise, you can create a prototype yourself and ask the supplier to make more of the products like that for you.

If the products don’t meet your requirements, you can choose to correct the supplier or jump on the next supplier.

Remember this is your business and low quality can mean losses in the long run.

Mistakes to Avoid when Importing from China to Australia

I can assure you, every business has its challenges.

Even those that appear to be simple or wow to you; have issues

That being said, below are common mistakes sellers make when importing from the global manufacturing hub; China, and the solutions.

i. Language Barrier

The language barrier is a major problem in international trade.

Not all Chinese are conversant in English, some may understand it.

Equally the difference in culture and manner of speech may cause misunderstanding between the two traders during communication.

As a result, the importer may end up getting the wrong products.

Solution; To avoid this, use email and telephone calls to ensure you describe your products to the manufacturer.

Use simple English with no vocabularies. In case you know how to communicate in their local language, go ahead and use it.

If the communication gap between you and your supplier is too large to bridge, hire a translator such as a sourcing agent that is experienced in international trade.

ii. Going for the Cheapest Options

We all love a cheap deal. Unfortunately, in China, if you go for the cheapest goods, you may be getting scammed or low-quality products.

Cheap may be expensive in the long run.

Prices don’t necessarily match the quality of the product.

It is hard to get a manufacturer who can produce goods of desired quality at a reasonable price.

Solution; Ensure you do a thorough background check on the product.

Go to an extent of asking for a prototype before signing in for the deal.

To avoid high prices, work directly with real companies and choose the best shipping methods.

If your goods are not perishable or delicate, consolidate them in one container.

You can as well ship with other multiple companies.

iii. Rushing through the Process

Traders wish the importation process was as quick as a snap of a figure.

Unfortunately, it’s not.

It’s a process hence it may take some time.

Here is the catch; when sellers become impatient and ask for quick deliveries, manufacturers always end up creating low-quality products.

They cut corners to ease the process hence compromising on the quality of the product.

Solution; Be patient, no Rome was built in a day remember.

In case a manufacturer is willing to quicken the process abnormally, that’s a red flag; they are not quality suppliers.

High-quality suppliers are rigid with their delivery times.

They do not compromise at all, neither should you.

iv. Miscalculating Margins

While doing your calculations as a seller you should include custom duties, shipping cost, insurance, and other taxes applicable and add to the cost price of the products you are importing.

Failure to do this may lead to problems.

Solution; In case you are not able to do the calculations correctly, hire an expert.

v.  Supplier Scam

Not everyone that calls themselves a supplier online is a supplier in real sense.

Some are just scammers.

It is sad to admit that many Australian importers are victims of supplier scams.

They get deals that are too good to be true and pap! they fall for it.

Solution; Don’t settle for what you see first, do thorough research.

vi. Suppliers have got the Faintest idea on the Australian Standards

Like every other country, Australia has business laws and regulations.

Regrettably, most manufacturer have no idea of Australian product standards.

Hence they produce commodities that don’t meet the requirement resulting in losses.

Solution; I cannot overemphasize the importance of properly describing the products to your manufacturer.

You can do this via phone call or sent a list of requirements via email or SMS.

Remember manufacturers will do their best to listen to you so that you become a returning customer.

If you can’t handle it alone, consult an exporting agent in China for help.

vii. Fly to China to save on time.

Relationships and partnerships in China are taken very seriously.

You can build a really good relationship with your manufacturer if you travel to China in person.

If it’s in your budget, go ahead and visit.

Having a one on one conversation will build a relationship that can be profitable to your business.

Solution; Look for professionals with years of experience in the business.

It will save you time and money.

Famisourcing for example can provide such services and can also provide you with reliable manufacturers

viii. Product Recreation

You may think that you are finally sorted once you have a manufacturer, they will now produce unique products for you.

Sadly, they do recreate products to maximize their profits.

You may try and mark your products and even carry out legal ownership but still, they will copy-paste them.

Solution; It goes back to your choice of manufacturer. Choose trusted and reliable ones who will not flood the Australian market with your products.

ix. Quality Issues

Most Australian importers go through losses due to this.

Some manufacturers may not be willing to refund your payment if the quality of the products is not what you expected.

This is common especially if you have paid the whole amount.

Solution; If you have paid a deposit, check the quality of the product before paying the balance especially if the producer is new to you.

Even though not all, most suppliers may not be willing to lose you in the name of quality.

For this reason, they will fix the quality issues.

How Long to Takes to Import from China to Australia

How long goods will take to get to your destination depends entirely on the method of shipping you use.

Usually, there are three methods; express mail, air freight, and ocean freight.

 China to Australia

China to Australia

1) Express Mail

This is the fastest shipping method. It takes 3-5 business days to get your goods to Australia.

It’s used to transport small goods such as a small parcel, personal item, or a prototype of the goods you intend to import.

Common express mail includes; FedEx, UPS and DHL, etc.

2) Air Freight

It is also referred to as air cargo.

Air is used to ship goods to your desired destination.

Usually takes 7-10 days depending on how long your custom clearance may take.

It’s fast and economical especially if your package is light and small in size.

3) Ocean Freight

This is the most common method of shipping bulky goods in large quantities.

Such as construction materials, furniture, etc.

Express cargo can take up to two weeks to get to Australia.

Standard container sizes are 20GP,40GP, and 40HQ.

Work with an experienced freight forwarder to help you get the best rates and services in the market.

How to Import from China to Amazon FBA Australia

This is a common question asked by most importers. It is usually complex but not as much as you think.

Importing from China to Amazon is a profitable strategy used by traders in international trade.

There are two ways of importing goods from China to Amazon FBA in Australia;

i. You can choose to ship them directly from china to the Amazon FBA warehouse. This method is quick and cheap.

However, you are required to pay for the products before they get to amazon and ensure meet the standards required.

Goods shipped directly are not inspected due to lack of time.

ii. Ship them first to your destination or a third party then to the FBA warehouse.

Goods are consolidated and shipment is not likely to be rejected because it has already been inspected.

On the downside, it’s expensive, tedious especially if you are doing it yourself, and also goods take long before getting to their destination.

Below are some of the tips you can implement when importing to Australia via FBA

i. Grab the offers given by manufacturers valid for a given period.

ii. Don’t trust everyone; research to ensure you are dealing with the right suppliers.

iii. Not all Chinese products meet the set standards. Hence as a buyer, you have to check whether the products are in line with your country’s regulations.

iv. Ask for prototypes

v. Not all producers are the best seller; consider hiring an experienced middle person especially if it’s your first time.

vi. Don’t leave the whole responsibility to the suppliers, equally don’t use their shipping line. Look for a different one.

vii. Pay for the deposit, not the whole amount.

Not all Chinese manufacturers are familiar with FBA specification, ensure you give them a detailed brief just to be safe.

If you ship goods via UK or US you have an advantage because your goods will be checked.

How E-Commerce Fulfillment Works when Importing from China to Australia

What exactly is E-Commerce fulfilment?

Glad you asked.

It is part of an E-Commerce operation that delivers products to the customer.

It may include things such as picking goods, packaging them, placing them on a shelf, shipping company, etc.

Australian importers use E-Commerce fulfillment to sell products on platforms like Alibaba.

They can send goods from china to customers’ destinations without importing the goods to Australia in the first place.

This is refered to as cross border fulfillment.

They still pay for GST though.

Once your business grows consider outsourcing an E-Commerce it can greatly expand your business.

Sourcing for Goods You Want to Import from China to Australia

Sourcing for goods can be done online on websites such as Alibaba, HongKong fair,, etc.

Research is the most important part of this process; it can’t be overlooked.

i. Source for products and the supplier-Find out the products you want to sell, where and whether or not you will make a profit.

Source products based on price, brand, quality, and your customers’ demand.

Try and understand the Chinese business market. Start with low-risk product.

See how it goes then you can upgrade with time. The sky is the limit but start small as you taste the waters.

Business is all about trust, search for reliable suppliers. Check reviews to ensure the seller is legit.

Ask someone with experience in international trade to recommend a good supplier.

Make a list of potential suppliers and check their prices. Compare their prices with the Australian local market.

Remember the wider the margin the healthier the profit.

ii. eview the restriction and quarantine list of the Australian government to ensure goods you intend to import will be allowed in.

iii. Determine the shipment method you will use to transport your products. Choose either sea or air freight depending on the nature of your products or how fast you need the goods.

iv. Ensure you have legal documentation- This applies to both the importer and exporter to ease the clearance process.

v. Review the cost price, landing cost, and every other cost involved.

vi. Once you are sure of making profits, place an order and ensure it’s confirmed.

vii. Expect to receive your cargo on the given date.

You can rely on information provided on sites such as DFH Global Logistics to avoid scammers.

Now, we would also like to hear from you.

If you’re importing from China to Australia.

Or, you have any questions about importing from China to Australia.

BanSar is here to help you reduce cost of shipping and sourcing goods from China to Austalia – talk to us now.

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