China to South Africa

Importing from China to South Africa: The Complete Guide


As a businessman, you must be looking for the most efficient way to bring merchandise to South Africa from China.

The worry might intensify when you think of getting it all the way from China to supply your customers.

Well, worry no more because you are about to know everything about transporting your cargo from China to South Africa.

Which products can I importing to from China to South Africa?

Here find out about the main products that China exports to South Africa in the following paragraphs:

· Importing Bags from China to South Africa
· Import cars from China to South Africa
· Importing wedding dresses from China to South Africa
· Importing electronics from China to South Africa
· Importing furniture from China to South Africa
· Importing hair from China to South Africa
· Importing machinery from China to South Africa
· Importing building materials from China to South Africa
· Importing tires from China to South Africa and others.

How to calculate the Import Cost from China to South Africa?

The factors that you will look at when calculating the cost of transport are:
· Calculate the Landed for Importing from China to South Africa
. Import Duties from China to South Africa
. Importing from China to South Africa Logistics Cost
. Cost of Hiring a Customs Broker
. Cost of hiring Chinese freight forwarder to South Africa

May I know any other documents that may be important when I am importing goods from China to South Africa?

The other list of documents that you may need for shipping from China to South Africa are:

Bill of lading
Air waybill
Sea waybill
Certificates of Origin
Courier waybill
CIM consignment note
Certificate of shipment

Do you offer any form of door to door services from China to South Africa?

There is the door to door services that you can get depending on the money you pay.

Express shipping offers this service, and you can get it from other forms of transport.

It will depend on the type of arrangement you will have with the supplier.

I have made this guide to help you solve this problem.

And, here we go.

China to South Africa

China to South Africa

Chapter 1: What Can I Import from China to South Africa?

China is a leading manufacturer of different products that they export to various parts of the world including South Africa.

According to the United Nations COMTRADE, South Africa imports goods from China to a tune of 15.22 Billion dollars.

Continue reading and find out about the main products that China exports to South Africa in the following paragraphs.

· Importing Bags from China to South Africa

China is one of the biggest manufacturers of designer bags with the highest quality you can find.

South Africa imports bags from China in huge containers because of the high demand for the product.

The main mode of transporting the bags to South Africa is by using the full container load depending on the importer.

Import bags from China

Import bags from China

If the importer does not import a lot of luggage, then he will have to use less than container load.

Most of the containers come through the sea on different shipping freights depending on the importer’s choices.

Many of the bags are women handbags, clutch bags, backpacks, camping bags that manufacturers make from different materials.

· Import cars from China to South Africa

Since South Africa does not have many car manufacturing industries, they opt to get them from China.

China is a leading car manufacturer economy and takes care of the demands from other countries such as South Africa.

The cars come on special types of ships that have the ability and capacity to carry the load of cars.

Imported car

Imported car

The ships that carry cars or luggage that has wheels are known as the roll on roll off cargo ships.

The ships have ramps that the car can easily roll on to the ship and roll off the ship.

The cars also pack on different decks of the ship when on transit to South Africa.

· Importing wedding dresses from China to South Africa

Wedding dresses is another key import that South Africa gets from China for the ladies planning for their weddings.

China exports all types of wedding dresses to South Africa that have different price ranges to accommodate everybody.

The cheap wedding dresses come in containers via sea freights and put for display in different wedding shops.

Wedding dress

Wedding dress

There are other types of dresses that the owner can order for early enough for customization.

These types of dresses are high end very expensive since it requires special material and designs.

The importers usually prefer to use express shipping services such as DHL to deliver the dresses at their doorsteps.

The mode of transporting wedding dresses will depend on the type of dress that you are importing.

The government will also charge import duty on the dresses depending on the quality and cost of the dress.

· Importing electronics from China to South Africa

Whenever you are transporting electronics from China to South Africa, you should use the air freight.

Electronics are usually fragile and should get to the buyer as soon as possible and in good condition.

It is the most significant reason why exporters typically prefer to use air freights as they are safer and faster.

The kind of electronics that China exports to South Africa include refrigerators, television sets, radios, computers, phones and many more.

Most of them are fragile and require special packages as they are on transit to South Africa.

· Importing furniture from China to South Africa

China is a leading manufacturer of different types of furniture that manufacturers make from various materials including timber.

The timber that the manufacturers use varies from hardwood to softwood for creating different designs of furniture.

The manufacturers load the furniture into containers that will come to South Africa on ships.

Chinese furniture

Chinese furniture

The type of shipping freight that you decide to use for the furniture will depend on the cost you pay.

It means that the furniture can come on the air freight or through the sea freight depending on the bulk.

A huge consignment of furniture will go into the country through the sea freights as it is economical.

· Importing hair from China to South Africa

Cosmetics are taking a huge share of the market in the world today including hair for the ladies.

The type of hair that South Africa imports from China are mainly for the ladies which is synthetic.

The other models are human hair, and they come into the country through the sea freights, or air freights.

Importing hair

Importing hair

Air freights a reserve for express shipping where the customer needs to get the hair as soon as possible.

There is the possibility of shopping for the type of hair you need on AliExpress.

This is the easiest mode of shopping for hair, and you will receive it as soon as possible.

· Importing machinery from China to South Africa

The size and type of machinery that you intend to import will determine the mode of transport.

Heavy and fragile machines are given special packages, and the freight forwarder takes extra care of the merchandise.

The type of machines varies from the type of machines for construction of buildings and roads, among other types.

The big machines may come in different parts for assembly one they arrive in South Africa.

Other types of machines that are too big to fit in a container will come on different types of ships.

The ships that transport this type of machinery that are out of shape is known as out of gauge ships.

· Importing building materials from China to South Africa

Certain types of building material are not readily available in South Africa.

Most of them come from China and arrive in South Africa on cargo ships.

Some of the building material from China include floor tiles among other types of building materials.

There has been an issue about the imports from China flooding the market of South Africa.

The competition is real, and many of the products arriving in South Africa are of the same quality.

· Importing tires from China to South Africa

Tires are spare parts for vehicles that will need replacements once they wear out.

Many of the tires that arrive in South Africa from China come from the car manufacturing companies.

Once the manufacture of the cars is complete, the manufacturer has to make spare parts for replacements.

Car Tires

Car Tires

The parts such as tires come into South Africa in containers through different importers.

Since they come in bulk, they are often put on sea freights.

An order for the tires should come through to the manufacturer in time for disbursement of the consignment.

· Importing solar panels from China to South Africa

South Africa has the potential of lighting up their homes using solar power and solar panels.

The solar panels require enough sunlight which is a resource that is available in plenty.

This is the reason why South Africa imports many solar panels from China and uses them for lighting.

Flexible solar panel

Flexible solar panel

The imports arrive in bulk on special containers on ships through the sea freight.

Air freights can also transport the solar panels depending on the urgency of the order.

· Importing clothes from China to South Africa

China has many cloth manufacturing companies that produce clothes of very high quality.

The production process is cheap due to cheap labor, and most of them produce in bulk.

The bulk produce is taken to different countries for sale including South Africa.

Importing clothes from China

Importing clothes from China

Most clothes come through sea freights on the FCL or LCL shipping freights depending on the importer.

Full Container loads are the most common for clothes, and one is sure to receive the goods in good shape.

Besides that, clothes are not fragile and can take a long time in transit, and that is the reason why sea freights are common.

· Importing shoes from China to South Africa

Shoes are huge imports from China to South Africa, and most of them arrive in containers via sea freight.

Just like clothes, they are not fragile and can take time on the sea as it is on transit to South Africa.

Most of the shoes from China are of different qualities, and therefore the pricing is also different.

Shoes in Yiwu

Shoes in Yiwu

Many shoe companies base in China because of the cheap cost of producing shoes and cheap labor.

It is sufficient enough to produce shoes in China and then export it than importing the raw materials.

The type of shoes and delivery time will also determine the type of freight that you will use for transport.

· Import toys from China to South Africa

Toys also make one of the greatest imports of South Africa from China.

You will need to import the toys in bulk before and bring them in a container via the sea.

Some of the toys are expensive and require extra care that’s why it is important to use air freights.

Toys for sale in YiWu

Toys for sale in YiWu

The size of the toys will determine the type of container you will use in transporting the cargo.

Importing bigger toys in bulk will require a huge container or many containers to make it successful.

The government also charges different rates for the toys depending on the cost of the cargo.

Chapter 2: List of Prohibited and Restricted Imports in South Africa

South Africa as a sovereign state has the rules that govern the import of goods and there are restrictions.

These restrictions are on certain types of goods that they do not allow into the country.

The reason why the country does not allow the importation of these goods vary depending on the type of good.

Prohibited imports

Prohibited imports

The most significant difference between prohibited and restricted goods are:

i. The goods under prohibition are not to be given a chance to exit or enter the country. The circumstances that the goods are under will not matter and can never be given a chance.

ii. Restricted good will get a chance to get into the country only under special circumstances. The conditions for allowing such goods into South Africa include:

Provision of particular permits, letters, and certificate that the government requires

The prohibitions and restrictions apply to all forms of transport that you can use in transporting the merchandise.

The status of the cargo you intend to import into South Africa must be well articulated as either:

i. N for new goods

ii. U for the goods that have been in use

iii. S for the goods that are changing hands from the first user to the second (Second-hand goods)

The prohibitions and restrictions are on a list that the government usually compiles from different departments.

The list is available online for reference and also with the customs department for inspection.

The list has special categorizations in accordance with the tariff structure of the “Harmonized Commodity Coding and description System.”

The list of the restricted and prohibited goods in South Africa include:

i. Habit forming drugs and narcotics that can cause addiction such as marijuana

ii. Fully automatic, unnumbered, military weapons.

iii. Fireworks and explosives

iv. Toxic substances such as poison and other materials

v. Cigarettes that have a mass over 2 kilograms for every 1000 sticks

vi. Counterfeit goods that take advantage of logos and trademarks from other legal companies

vii. Unlawful reproductions for any subject that has copyrights

viii. Penitentiary or prison-made goods

The department of trade and industry is responsible for revising and publishing the list of prohibitions.

It is the department that issues the permits for restricted goods.

There are certain groups of goods that will require the involvement of other departments for clearance.

Chapter 3: Calculate the Import Cost from China to South Africa

The cost of importing cargo from China to South Africa will vary according to a number of factors.

Calculate Cost

Calculate the cost

The factors that you will look at when calculating the cost of transport are:

i. The cost of the merchandise that you intend to transport

ii. The distance that the cargo will cover from the factory to the final destination. It will include the distance from the factory to loading port, from the port to South Africa and then to the warehouse.

iii. The means of transport that you choose for the cargo. It includes the cost of either sea freight or air freights. Air freights are more expensive than sea freights.

iv. The cost of the insurance you choose

v. The cost of the Incoterms you intend to use for transporting the cargo

vi. The shipping company that will transport the merchandise for you from China to South Africa Different shipping companies offer different price lists depending on the services they offer.

vii. The type of merchandise you are transporting from China to South Africa Fragile goods require extra attention and care, so you have to pay more for it.

· Calculate the Landed for Importing from China to South Africa

The cost of land for importing goods from China is inclusive of a number of factors.

You might be lucky to get a product at a cheap price in China but the product is not in South Africa.

Importing it to South Africa will lead to additional costs on the product making it more expensive.

South Africa Retail Store

South Africa Retail Store

The cost of land for goods from China to South Africa will include the following:

i. Cost of the product

ii. Cost of transporting the product to South Africa

iii. Cost of insurance for the products

iv. Cost of import duties in destination country

v. Excise taxes and VAT charges on the product

vi. Other fees that the customs department may charge on the product

· Cost of Best Products to Import from China to South Africa

The cost of transporting the best products from China will also vary accordingly.

The factors you have to look at include the cost of the products and the type of freight.

The best of products will also require the best treatment thus increasing the cost of transport.

Note that when you purchase the goods online, the supplier in China will organize for the cost of transport.

Most of the time the cargo comes through air freight that the supplier will organize for but you have to confirm.

· Cost of Shipping from China to South Africa

The cost of shipping cargo from China to South Africa is significant to a lot of factors.

The factors that you will incur when making inquiries into transporting any form of cargo.

The key factors that you will have to look at in this case are:

i. The type of transport you will use for transporting the merchandise. It includes the use of sea freights or air freights. Air will deliver the merchandise faster than sea freight making it costly

ii. The distance that the transport will cover with the cargo on board. It will depend on the sea route that the ship has decided to take.

Sea route from China to South Africa

Sea route from China to South Africa

i. The Incoterms that you will choose for your cargo

ii. Shipping companies that you contact will have different prices, and that will affect the cost. Remember, other factors such as geopolitics, global oil prices, sea weather, etc. can also play an important role when it comes to shipping cost.

· Choose the Best Incoterm when importing from China to South Africa

Incoterms 2010are the terms you will use when shipping merchandise from one country to another.

The terms are international, and many people who work in the import and export of goods accept them.

They are also admissible in a court of law, and you will use them whenever you are referring to transactions.

Apart from that, they also explain the relationship between you and the seller or supplier of goods.

It gives a clear explanation of the responsibilities that the seller or supplier has towards the cargo.

It will also explain the terms of payment that you should be taking care of during the transport of your cargo.

The cost of transport will vary according to the kind of incoterms that you decide to use.

Some of the Incoterms will exempt you from payments while others will force you to dig deeper into your pockets.

The most significant incoterms that you may encounter during the process of shipping merchandise are:

1. FOB

Free on board where the buyer takes care of the contract and insurance of the cargo.

The buyer will deliver the cargo at the loading port and clear it for export.

The rest of the responsibilities are for the buyer to take care of.

2. CIF

Cost, Insurance and Freight where the seller pays for the freight contract and Insurance for the cargo.

His responsibility will end once the cargo is safe on the ship.

The buyer will assume responsibility for the cargo from that point.

3. CIP

Carriage and Insurance paid to the relevant authority, and the seller is only partially responsible for the cargo once the seller delivers the load at a destination where the buyer states.

Responsibility shifts, the buyer becomes responsible for the goods for the rest of the journey.

4. CFR

Cost and Freight is the incoterm that allows the seller to pay for the freight but not the insurance.

The insurance will be the responsibility of the buyer, and he will take care of the goods once on board.

It means the seller will take care of everything until the cargo is on board the ship.

5. CPT

Carriage paid to the relevant authority by the seller and the rest is the responsibility of the buyer.

It means that the seller will only transport the goods to the carrier and leave the rest to the buyer.

6. DAT

Delivered at Terminal is where the seller takes care of the delivery of goods to the destination port.

The seller will take care of all the costs all the way to the port of destination.

The buyer will take responsibility for the rest of the journey to the place of interest.

7. DAP

Delivered at Place is the incoterm that states that the seller will deliver the cargo to the final place.

The seller will assume full responsibility for the cargo up to the point where the buyer receives the cargo.

It might be at a specific warehouse or at a place the buyer will specify.

The buyer will take care of the customs clearance, import taxes and duty for the cargo.

The seller should worry about insurance just in case of any problems before the unloading of cargo.

8. DDP

Delivery duty paid means that the seller will deliver the goods to the buyer after paying all costs.

This includes all the import duty and taxes, customs clearance and any other cost.

All the risks that the goods may have during the process of transporting the cargo is on the seller.

9. EXW

Ex Works means that the seller will deliver the goods at a destination such as a warehouse or a factory.

The buyer will assume all the responsibility for the goods all the way to the destination point.

It includes the cost of transport, export and import clearance among other issues.

10. FAS

Free Alongside Ship means that the seller will cease responsibility for the cargo once they are at the side of the ship.

The seller will take care of the export clearance, but the buyer will take care of the rest.

The rest will include the cost of loading the cargo on the ship, insurance and many more till delivery.

11. FCA

Free Carrier means that the seller will complete his responsibilities when he delivers the cargo to the carrier.

From that point, the buyer will assume full responsibility for the cargo to the destination.

This includes the cost of transport, insurance for the cargo, customs clearance among other costs.

Estimate Import Duties from China to South Africa

As soon as you consider importing cargo from China, you have to know about the import duties.

It means that the government will charge a certain amount of money to allow your goods in the country.

The import duty will depend on the type of goods that you import into the country and the cost of the cargo.

The fee that you will pay for the goods to come into the country is in different divisions as follows.

· Calculate the Customs Duties

The first step in calculating the customs duties for the imports in South Africa will be filling a declaration form.

With the assistance of a customs agent, you will be able to complete the declaration form stating your intentions.

Import duties

Import duties – Image source: PICPEDIA

The key issues that you should fill in the form are:

Value of the goods you are importing

i. The cost of freight you are using

ii. The cost of insurance for the goods

iii. HS code of the product that you are importing

iv. Description of the product and more information about the product

v. The total cost of all the orders that you are making

vi. Cost of shipping the cargo

vii. Name of the insurance broker,

Please include your details such as name and the mail address then wait for the confirmation.

The confirmation will include the cost of customs duties that you should be paying.

· Anti-dumping and Countervailing duties

Antidumping and countervailing duties are the charges that you will pay on the following goods:

i. The goods that the government seems to consider as dumped goods.

ii. The goods or imports that have subsidies on them

Such goods are subject to an investigation into the export incentives and pricing from the origin country.

The rate that the government will impose depends on the results of the complete investigation.

The duties are either as a percentage of the value of goods or have specific duty charges on them.

Anti dumping


The criteria for determining the type and amount of duty depends on the following factors:

i. Customs value of the goods

ii. The quantity or volume of the goods

iii. How VAT is imposed on the goods in particular and the rate of charging VAT at 14%.

iv. Added tax value

The calculation follows the following procedure:

((Customs value + 10% thereof) + (any non-rebated duties levied on the goods)) * 14% = (ATV) * 14% = VAT payable

Importing from China to South Africa Logistics Cost

Considering to use certain types of logistic companies can simplify the job of importing to South Africa.

The logistics companies that you can use include freight forwarder and customs brokers.

The logistics companies are available in both South Africa and China for your consideration.

Cost of hiring Chinese freight forwarder to South Africa

In case you are taking a freight forwarder from China, it will be cheaper for the whole process.

It is because they know the country well and can find cheaper deals for your goods.

The suppliers also know the freight forwarders, and they can help you in getting one that is cheap, and you can trust.

Freight forwarder

Freight forwarder

The freight forwarders in China are also available online for you to find.

There are certain factors that you have to look at when looking for a freight forwarder.

This will include the kind of equipment they have for handling the cargo and experience.

Other factors that you will consider are:

i. Do they have the licenses to act as customs brokers?

ii. Do they have a clean record of customer references?

iii. Do they have online tracking systems you can use to track your goods?

iv. Do they have other logistic services that they offer to their customers?

v. Do they have a range of shipping services such as LCL and FCL among others?

vi. Do they have enough experience to deal with the category of products you want?

vii. Are they in a position to offer repackaging services?

viii. Can they have shipments from different suppliers under one container?

ix. What are the discounts that they offer when you choose to work with them?

x. Are they in a position to offer services such as parcel shipments air freights?

The cost of hiring a freight forwarder will vary according to the type of freight forwarder you get.

Different freight forwarders charge different fees for the services that they offer.

It will also vary depending on the type of services that you intend to receive from the freight forwarder.

Cost of Hiring a Customs Broker

Customs brokers can also simplify the job of dealing with the customs department and clearing the cargo.

They are available in different ports in China and South Africa ready to attend to your needs.

The experience that the customs brokers have in dealing with import and export of cargo is sufficient and time-saving.

Customs broker

Customs broker

The cost of hiring a customs broker will depend on the services you want the broker to perform.

Customs brokers offer a wide range of services that may interest you.

The services you will choose will determine the cost that you will pay for the customs broker.

The costs you will incur in importing the cargo can be taken care of by the customs broker.

The mode of payment will depend on the agreement that you will have with the customs broker.

Remember that the agreements are done under the law in the presence of a lawyer.

Chapter 4: Search for Chinese Product Suppliers & Place Order

As an importer, the first thing you need to do is to find the type of goods that you intend to import.

You will need to look for the supplier of the goods and then make the order for the particular goods.

The process of finding the products and the supplier is tricky, and you will go through these steps.

Step 1: Search for Suppliers Through:

The internet presents a lot of opportunities for us in finding suppliers all over the world.

Finding suppliers in China is not as difficult with the availability of particular search parties on the World Wide Web.

The search sites and people that you can use or contact to find suppliers include:

1) Sourcing agents

Whenever you are looking to source for a product from China or manufacture custom products.

China sourcing agent

China sourcing agents

You can contact a sourcing agent or a sourcing company to help you in getting the goods faster.

The sourcing agents in China can help you with the following services:

i. Finding the best suppliers and manufacturers for the product you are looking for

ii. Assist in translation and negotiating deals for you to get the product

iii. Developing the product and ensuring it is of the right quality

iv. Packaging the goods well before transporting

v. Freight forwarding and logistics for the cargo

Some of the sourcing agents in China are Jing Sourcing, Ejet Trade Limited, dragon sourcing, and Kaizen Group.

Others include Bina group, China Sourcing services, Shenzhen Sourcingbro Technology Co., Ltd, Arcadia Sourcing International Ltd (ASIL) among others.

2) Alibaba

Alibaba is an online shopping company that you can contact to get the type of goods you are looking for.

It has the contacts of almost all the suppliers and manufacturers in China who take care of posting the goods.

The goods that the manufacturers post online have price tags on them making it easier for you.



The mode of payment is via online banking where you will have to pay for the goods first before supply.

There is no need to worry about the money because of the money back guarantee available on Alibaba.

You will get your money back if the goods do not arrive at the destination.

Apart from that, if the goods do not match the description, you will get the money back.

It is a measure that will help in protecting you from fraud and fraudulent dealers.

The mode of delivery is via air freights, and it can come to your doorstep.

3) AliExpress

AliExpress is another online shopping service that you can use to find the type of cargo for your business.

The goods that you will be buying on AliExpress will come to South Africa via express air shipping.

The manufacturer will post the goods online so that you can access them easily when you are shopping.



The online service is part of Alibaba and has a list of companies listing goods on their website.

All you need to do is log in to the website and find the goods that you are looking for.

It is an e-commerce website that has customers all over the world who can access the website.

4) Made in China

Made in China is an online shopping company that connects buyers with products suppliers in China.

The product suppliers list the goods on the website, and you can easily log in and get the goods.

The site features a wide variety of goods that you may need for your business in South Africa.

Made in China

Made in China

The goods you will order on this site will come through express shipping services.

The supplier can decide to bring the goods all the way to your doorstep depending on the arrangement.

5) DHgate

DHgateis an online shopping site where suppliers put up the products that they sell for you to see.

It is an international website, and you can get any of the suppliers you are looking for in China.

Most of the goods on the site will come with a free shipping offer.



Other goods on the site have the cost of shipping alongside the cost of the products up for sale.

The site accepts many varieties of goods, and you can be sure of finding the ones you need.

The mode of shipping the goods is by air depending on the size of the goods and cost of shipping.

6) Chinese trade fair

A Chinese trade fair is an event that the Chinese organize in different countries to showcase their products.

At the Chinese trade fair, you can get a good supplier for the goods you need to import from China.

Chinese trade fair

Chinese Trade Fair

You will be at a better position to speak to the supplier directly at this kind of an event.

Apart from that, you don’t have to go all the way to China as the supplier will visit your country.

This way, you are able to get the supplier at a cheaper cost, and you can be sure of a business transaction.

From that point, you will be able to link with the supplier and organize on how to import the goods.

Step 2: Enquire for MOQ

You can get in touch with the supplier and then talk about the kind of business you are going to transact.

In the process of talking to him, try and ask him questions about minimum order quantity they allow.

They should be able to tell you the least amount of goods that they are willing to give at a particular time.



MOQs are negotiable, and you can talk to the supplier to arrange for a certain quantity of goods.

The negotiation should be within reason, but it is your responsibility to agree with the MOQ.

Most of the time, it is better to agree with the suppliers MOQ so that you can transact business faster.

The minimum order requirement will vary from one supplier to another.

Some suppliers will have very large MOQs of up to 100,000 units while others have low MOQs as 100 units.

Supplier dealing with custom products have very low MOQs may have as little as 1 unit of MOQ.

Step 3: Request for Sample Products

You are at liberty of requesting your supply to offer you with the sample goods for you to see.

Sample goods work best in proving that the goods are of the right quality and they will satisfy your needs.

A supplier who is willing to give you sample goods is a supplier you can trust to do business with.

After receiving the sample, you should test it and confirm if it fits your needs before making an order.

If not, let the supplier know about it, and he will make the necessary adjustments for you.

The supplier may not be willing to do that and, therefore, you will look for another supplier.

Step 4: Receive Sample and Arrange for Mass Production (for Customized Imports from China)

In case the sample that you receive fits your desires, you will contact the supplier to produce in mass.

The conversation with the supplier will involve the number of goods that you will need from the supplier.

He will let you know about the capacity that he/she is able to produce and the time it takes.

Step 5: Establish a Quality Verification Procedure

As the manufacturer produces the goods, you can be around to check the quality standards of the goods.

You can also let him know of the adjustments that he can make before he completes producing the goods.

Quality Character Shows Perfection Approval And Excellent

Quality Control

The manufacturer will also know the set standards that different quality standard regulators will check.

Step 6: Agree on the Mode of Payment for Imports from China to South Africa

After that, you can meet with the supplier so that you agree on the mode of paying for the goods.

You will do that after confirming that the supplier will deliver on the goods.

You can also have an agreement on when to pay and after you receive the services you need.

You may also agree to pay a certain amount upfront to establish a certain form of trust.

It will enable him to establish that you are a serious importer and he can trust you.

After the transaction is complete, you will honor the end of your deal and pay the rest of the money.

There are many ways of paying for your imports from China.

For instance, you may opt for TT, e-Checking, Visa/MasterCard, PayPal, etc.



Step 7: Sign a Binding Contract

In case you were just negotiating, it is important to have a contract that will bind you to the agreement.

The contract will dictate the responsibilities of the supplier to you and your responsibilities to him and the goods.

You may have a lawyer to help you with the terms of the contract before signing.


Sample NDA

The contract will help you in courts of law in case the supplier does not honor his end of the deal.

Apart from that, it is the only proof you will have on the records of agreement and mode of payment.

The contract may also state how you want the delivery of goods and where you want them.

After signing the contract, you will wait for the supplier to do his part and you should wait for payment.

The supplier will contact you as soon as the goods are ready and you will pay at that point.

Chapter 5: South Africa Import Customs Procedures and Regulations

South Africa has its own regulations which they follow whenever they receive imports from other countries.

The procedures will dictate the process that you will follow whenever you are importing merchandise.

The regulations are the rules that you will follow whenever you are importing cargo into South Africa.

Customs clearance

Customs clearance

The customs department in South Africa will take care of inspecting the goods on arrival from China.

They will check if the goods are restricted or prohibited from entering the country from China.

At the same time, the customs officer will check on the documents for importing the goods.

· How to Get an Import License in South Africa

As an importer, you will need to get certain documents from the relevant authority such as the import license.

Without the import license, the goods you intend to import will not cross the borders of the country.

The customs agents at the said terminals will check on the documents before admitting your goods.

The type of goods that you will be bringing into South Africa that will require an import permit are:

i. Controlled goods

ii. Second-hand goods

iii. Used goods

iv. Scrap metal

v. Waste products

The firsts step is to register with the South African Revenue Service as an importer.



After that, you will send an application to the International Trade Administration Commission to get an import permit.

The import permit ensures that the goods conform to the quality, safety, health, and environmental requirements.

The goods must also fall under the right regulations that are within international organizations.

This permit will also help in controlling certain types of goods such as smuggled goods.

The policies applying to the importation of goods will differ from one area to another.

Most of the new goods are not put through the import measures as not every good is subject to import measures.

After filling the form and submitting it to ITAC, there are other forms that you will fill too.

You will then give the forms to the Directorate of the Import and Export Control Act.

You are free to ask for the list of goods that are under prohibitions and regulations.

If you have interests in the insurance information on certain imports, provide the particular and wait for the feedback.

In many cases, you will get the feedback plus the import permit within five days.

International Trade Administration Commission (ITAC) does not charge any fee on the services that they will be offering.

The South African Revenue Service will, however, ask you to pay customs duty.

They will calculate the customs duty as a percentage of the total value of the goods.

· South Africa Import Requirements and Documentation

South Africa will use the rates of the Most Favored Nation (MFN) when importing from China.

They also have a preferential rate they apply to goods that come from the trade partners that have trade agreements.

Documents Concept with Word on Folder.


Whenever you are applying for the import permit, there are other forms that you will fill.

The forms that you will fill are:

i. Application form for registration as an importer which is the IE 230 form

ii. Application form for personal imports and other services which are the IE 463

iii. Annexure form IE463 for importing personal goods

iv. Application form IE 461 for importing goods that you will use for commercial purposes

v. Application form IE 464 and annexure form H 464 for importing chemicals

vi. Application form IE462 for importing used goods, second-hand goods or passenger vehicles. You will fill this form when you intend to import motor vehicles.

· Clearing imports from China to South Africa

The cargo that arrives in South Africa from China has to go through certain procedures before getting into the country.

The South African Revenue Service is responsible for seeing that the goods are under regulations.

It takes care of all the customs requirements and regulations of South Africa.

The customs administration of South Africa plays an important role to facilitate the movements across the borders of South Africa.

The SARS use electronic data in the submission of certain types of data and reports to the relevant authorities.

Anybody who is interested in doing any business with SARS has to register with the EDI.

SARS will offer one administrative document to help in the facilitation of customs procedures.

The procedure to follow before admitting goods in South Africa is almost the same worldwide.

Continue reading and find out more about the procedure to follow.

South Africa Imports

South Africa Imports

There are three main procedures that you will have to follow when importing the goods.

The procedures are:

i. Register and fill in the forms that will identify you as an importer

ii. Get the specific license that you will need for the importation of the goods.

iii. Getting the certificates and clearance from the countries, you seek to get the goods.

The procedure that you will follow once the cargo arrives starts from:

Unloading the cargo from the ship at sea is from the plane at the bonded area of the customs department.

The cargo is then taken through inspection procedures by the customs department official.

They are responsible for checking the cargo and the documents before giving you permission.

You will require three categories of permission before getting the goods.

The permission should come from the customs department in the importing country — permission from the carrier who was responsible for transporting the goods.

You will also need permission the custodian who has been takin care of the cargo in the importing country.

To get permission from the importing country, you can use the customs broker to get the documents.

He can apply for the clearance at the country of importing so that the process can begin.

If you cannot afford a customs broker, you can try and do it on your own in the importing country.

When the goods arrive at the destination port, the customs department will obtain the delivery order from the carrier.

It is a rule that applies at the seaport or the airport of the destination country.

The import delivery order will act as the permission note to allow you as the importer to have the cargo.

The custodian of the goods will keep them safe at the customs location either as the government or private entity.

His main duty is to confirm if the other two procedures are clear before releasing the goods.

He will be at liberty of giving the goods to the consignee once all the charges are clear.

The consignee will take the goods to the destination of choice after receiving them from the custodian.

The whole process can be the responsibility of the customs broker if you hire one.

The door to door deliveries will take care of everything and bring the goods to your door-step.

Chapter 6: Steps to Import to South Africa for Small Business

There is increasing concern from the owners of small businesses in South Africa about the importing of goods from China.

It is because they may not have the right paperwork or enough funding for the whole process.

Well, there is no need to worry as small businesses can now get the goods from China.

Small businesses in South Africa

Small businesses in South Africa

The first step in importing cargo successfully for small businesses is getting all the basics right.

The first step is getting a commercial invoice that will allow you to import the goods from China.

Make sure that the invoice you get is not a proforma invoice.

The commercial invoice will be outstanding in allowing you to cross the borders of South Africa.

It will have a thorough description of the goods you intend to import.

The customs officers will have a look at the invoice and know what you are introducing.

The paperwork will have full details on the goods that you are importing and the exact quantity of goods.

It will also give precise information about the full, true value of the products you are importing.

The second step is to make sure that you take care of the key factors such as being accurate with details.

You should try and be precise to the small details that you need to reveal when importing the goods.

You need to have a clear description of the goods that you are importing and do not include general factors.

As an example, if you are importing a suit, you should give all the details about it including the material.

This is because different materials attract different charges at the customs department and will save time during cargo inspection.

The description should also include if the goods are samples or not as it may attract huge fines.

The third step is making sure that you are close to the customs department of South Africa and register.

You will have to be in the database as an importer, and from that point, you will get an importers code.

This code will help you whenever you tend to import goods from China to South Africa.

Durban South Africa

Durban South Africa

 The SARS will use the code to check for the goods and their prices to know the value to be very honest.

In case you are not a regular importer, you will get the allowance to import three times in a year.

The fourth step will involve you having knowledge of the country you are importing from.

This knowledge will help you in knowing the state you are importing from and the tax to pay.

You can work with a clearing agent in the country to help you in getting the goods right.

The fifth step is to make sure that the goods you are importing are not under the restricted or prohibited goods.

The goods that you need to be wary of are the ones that are under prohibitions and restrictions.

Some of the goods include:

i. Second-hand material such as cars

ii. Certain types of medication that are not under the approval of the medical control council

iii. Plants that do not have licenses

iv. Particular animal products such as animal skin

v. Certain types of liquids which cannot go through airfreight.

Having all the above steps in check, you are eligible for importing goods for your small business.

The mode of importing the goods can be through air or sea freights.

Chapter 7: FAQs on Importing from China to South Africa

Do you have any questions on importing from China to South Africa?

Well, I have sampled a few FAQs that most importers from South Africa ask every day.

1. What are the forms of transporting goods from China to South Africa?

The goods can be transported through the sea or by air freights from China to South Africa.

China and South Africa have airports and seaports that you can use to transport the goods.

2. What are some of the services that I can get on air freights?

The services that you can get from airfreights include express shipping and international shipping.

Express shipping will enable you to get your goods within the shortest period usually under two days.

Apart from that, you can get the door to door services.

International shipping, on the other hand, is not as fast as express shipping.

It involves carrying many goods at once and delivering them off in different countries.

You can get the goods under five days, but the door to door service is not a guarantee.

3. What are some of the container sizes that I can get from the sea freights?

Sea freight offers different sizes of containers for carrying the goods.

You will choose the size of the container depending on the size and type of goods.

The most common containers available are:

  • FCL 20″ (Volume: 33.2 cubic meters)
  • FCL 40″ (Volume: 67.7 cubic meters)
  • FCL 40″ (Volume: 76.3 cubic meters)
  • FCL 45″ (Volume: 85.9 cubic meters)

Apart from that, you can either choose to use Less than container Load or Full Container Load.

Less than container load will come in handy when the goods cannot fill a container.

Full container load will come in handy when the goods are enough to fill a container.

4. How long does it take to ship from China to South Africa?

The time it will take for your goods to arrive in South Africa will depend on the type of transport.

Air transport is faster than sea transport and will take less time in comparison to sea freights.

The time at sea will also depend on the sea route or the distance to cover and speed of the ship.


Transporting cargo from China to South Africa is not a big problem as you were thinking about before.

I believe that the information you have been reading has completely become relevant to your knowledge.

It is time to pick up your phone and call the freight forwarder of choice to get your merchandise.

At BanSar, we strive to make you’re importing from China to South Africa a seamless process.

Talk to us today, and we’ll advise you on the best shipping from China to South Africa.

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