China to USA

Importing from China to USA: The Complete Guide


Importing from China to the US offers a better option of getting quality goods at a lower price.

But how you go about the importation procedure can be hectic due to the many processes that are involved.

That is why I have prepared this simple guide to help you understand the importation procedure from China to the US.

I have broken down the complicated process into a simple process that you can easily follow.

Have a look.

How to estimate Cost of Importing from China to the USA?

Here is an explanation too of these costs.
a) Cost of buying good from Chinese suppliers
b) Shipping cost from China to the USA
c) Cost of logistics
d) Calculate import tax from China to the USA

What is the documents for Importing from China to the USA?

· US Customs Invoice
· Commercial Invoice
· Packing list
· Bill of Lading/ Airways Bill
· Arrival notice
· Special permits

What's the Import Handling Process to US?

This section takes you through the process of hiring these entities who will handle your cargo from China to the US.

· Hire freight forwarder from China to the USA
· Hire licensed customs broker from China to the USA

How to choose a Secure and Safe Payment Method?

To help you in choosing a payment option that will be secure, let me take you through the major payment options.
· Telegraphic Transfer
· Letter of Credit
· Online Escrow
· PayPal
· Cash
· Western Union
· International Credit cards

Importing from China to USA

Importing from China to USA

Step 1: Understand the U.S. Regulations when Importing from China

Perhaps the starting point when you want to import from China to the USA needs to be understanding the US regulations.

These regulations will guide you right from what you want to import to the taxes that you will pay for the imports.

Let’s look at these regulations.

· Product safety regulations & standards

There are specific regulations and standards that your products should meet before you import them to the US.

The process of getting your approval for your goods can be somehow complicated given the many regulations.

To assist you, here is a simplified way that you can go through this process.

Have a look.

I have described these safety regulations and standards as per category:

1. Cosmetic products

When importing cosmetic products, you will have to ensure that they comply with regulations from the following standards: CFR Title 21 & 16, food, Drug, and Cosmetics Act, Safe Cosmetics Act 2011 and Fair Packaging and Labeling Act.

In addition to those, you will ensure that they comply with state regulations.

These regulations include California Proposition 65 – lead in cosmetics and California Air Resources Board (CARB)

2. Children’s products

When you are importing anything that is related to children, it should meet the regulations that are under CPSIA.

These regulations include: Taking the product samples to a CPSIA accredited laboratory and ensuring that your samples adhere to the safety standards

You also need to ensure there is fixing of a tracking label on each product that is permanent.

Failure to comply with these regulations will lead to confiscation of your products by the customs.

What you need to note is that all the laboratory tests, as well as the labeling costs, are your responsibility.

So, you need to make arrangements for this cost.

3. Electronic products

The FCC is the regulatory body that deals with imports.

As such, you need to ensure your electronic imports adhere to these regulations.

This includes having an FCC mark clearly on your imports.

On top of these, you can have other standards on your products if you want.

For instance, if you are importing electronic equipment for use in water, you can have standards from bodies like underwater Laboratories.

4. Chemicals and metal ores

At the federal level, CPSC regulates your chemical imports.

However, there is some regulation at the state level that differs from one state to the another.

On a personal level, you as an importer should submit your product for testing.

By doing this, you are ensuring that your imports have the correct amount of chemicals such as lead and calcium.

5. Kitchen appliances

If you are importing any kitchen appliances such as utensils, need to meet the necessary food contact regulations.

Such regulations include: the appliance should not transfer its elements including color to food, the appliance need not affect the smell and taste of the food in it.

Product labeling requirements

Whenever you’re labeling imports into the USA, it is important to consider the following:

Sample labeling

Sample labeling – Source: SIDCO LABELING

· Labels indicating the Country of Origin

The first regulation that you need to have on your import is to indicate the Country of Origin which in this case is China.

This is a necessity if you are importing anything from China.

However, there are a few items such as watches that you can import minus the label.

You need to check with the customs authorities before importing your cargo.

· Textiles and apparel

If you are in the process of importing textiles or apparel, you need to ensure that they comply with OTEXA requirements on the labeling.

This includes fiber composition, care instructions, and language which needs to be in English.

Remember to inform your supplier of these requirements and the specifications necessary.

Don’t make a mistake of assuming that your suppliers know the details of your regulations.

· Laboratory testing documents and regulations

The purpose of having your goods tested is to ascertain if they are safe for consumption in the US.

There are various laboratory tests that you will subject your goods to depending on the type of goods you are importing.

In case your goods pass these tests, the relevant body will issue you with a certificate of conformity which you will give the customs.

Regulated imports from China to the U.S.

If you are planning on importing the following goods from China to the US, you will be required to seek permission before importing.



  • Firearms
  • certain fruits and vegetables,
  • Certain animals, animal products and animal by-products.

·         Prohibited imports from China to the U.S.

You cannot import the following goods from China to the US. If you import these products, the customs will confiscate them, and you will have to pay fines.

  • Drugs
  • Alcohol
  • Firearms
  • Textiles and clothing
  • Trademarks and copyrighted items

You can learn more about the U.S. Custom Boarder Protection.

Step 2: Identify Products to Import from China to the USA

Once you have understood the regulations that will govern your importation, you need to identify a product that you will import.

The process of identifying a product can be a challenge especially if you are starting your importation business.

However, here is a look at some of the ways you can identify a product to import from China to the USA.

First, you can choose to travel abroad on a mission to find a product to import.

Though this method will consume your time and resources, the probability that you will find the quality product is high.

Again, while on the visits, you can interact with potential suppliers who you can negotiate the details of your product.

The other method you can use is by getting manufacturers contacts.

This method involves getting calls from manufacturers from China who may want to supply you with their goods.

US Imports

US Imports

The advantage of this method is that you save the time you would have taken to travel to China.

Also, when you get a call from a manufacturer, it means that they know that you are interested in their product.

As such, you are in a better position to negotiate on the terms of the product.

The disadvantage with this method is that you cannot use it if you are a new importer since you are unknown to the international market.

As an importer, you have the upper hand of interacting with your customers.

This is yet another source of identifying a product to import.

When clients call to request a particular product, you can build data from it and with time, get to know what product to specialize.

The other method through which you can identify products to import is by attending trade shows and fairs.

Most manufacturers from China present their goods and the incentives they have if you import these goods.

You are therefore able to interact and choose a product that you want to import from China to the US.

You can also visit the U.S. government’s International Trade Administration for information regarding importation.

These offices have data of goods that you can import as well as possible suppliers in China.

Having said that, the top imports from China to the US include:

  • Machinery
  • Electronics
  • Vehicles
  • Medical equipment
  • Organic chemicals

Step 3: Find Reliable Chinese Suppliers/Manufacturers

Identifying a product to import is just the beginning of your importation.

There are other aspects of the importation business that you need to consider.

For instance, you need to identify a reliable supplier who will be able to supply you the goods you want to import.

Numerous suppliers can supply your goods.

However, not all of them are reliable.

So how do you get a reliable supplier?

This section explains all the steps you can take to find a reliable supplier for your goods.

Keep reading.

Searching for Suppliers on Online Market Places

One of the quickest ways you can find a supplier is through trusted online market sites.

These sites offer an opportunity through which you can engage and choose suppliers who will deliver at reasonable terms.

These sites include:

· Alibaba

Alibaba is one of the sites that you can source for potential suppliers and manufacturers for your goods.

There are several advantages you can get by using Alibaba.

Alibaba suppliers

Alibaba suppliers

First, you can get a pool of suppliers which gives you an opportunity to select one that meets your specifications.

The fact that it is an online marketing site means that you can access it from virtually anywhere as long as you have internet.

This means that you don’t have to travel to China to search for suppliers.

Recently, Alibaba has introduced Alipay which is a secure means of making your payments.

You can source for a supplier, have them deliver your goods and pay them later.

· Made in China

Made in China is another online site that helps you interact with different manufacturers and suppliers.

Made in China, you can select a supplier then engage them.

Made in China

Made in China

Using Made in China means that you will have to agree with your supplier on the details of the trade including the mode of payments.

· AliExpress

A sister company to Alibaba, AliExpress offers you an opportunity to interact with retail suppliers.

So, if you want to import small quantities from China to the US, this is the site that you need to look out.

AliExpress will not charge you for shipping your goods when you make a purchase on it.

Your supplier will take care of this.

One of the most natural ways of buying a product from this site is to check on the reviews of other clients.

AliExpress Suppliers


A supplier with a higher rating implies that their goods are of high-quality meaning that you can engage them for importation.

Lastly, you can track your cargo right from when it leaves your supplier to your doorstep.

Hire sourcing agents

The advantage you have by hiring a sourcing agent is that it saves you the hassle of looking for a supplier by yourself.

Sourcing agents usually understand the importation business, and they will hook you up with the right suppliers.

What happens is that once you explain your import details to your sourcing agent, they will use their networks to find you, potential suppliers.

Once they have a list of potential of suppliers, they can take you through the pros and cons of each supplier.

Finally, they will assist you to narrow down to that one supplier for your goods.

Some of the qualities you can look out for when hiring a sourcing agent include:

  • Expertise in importation
  • Fluency in Chinese as well as English
  • A proper understanding of the Chinese business culture
  • Experience with suppliers

Look for Chinese Suppliers in the US

Some suppliers have agents based in the US.

This can be a good source of finding a supplier who you can engage for importing your goods.

You can find information relating to such suppliers at the Chinese embassy.

This information includes their locations in the US and which category of goods they supply.

Consider visiting China to meet suppliers

The advantage you get by choosing to visit China to source for suppliers is that you get to interact with them on a face to face basis.

This will give you an opportunity to visit their manufacturing sites as well as observe the manufacturing process.

You will also get the opportunity to negotiate on the product details including the price and production schedule.

Also, you can use this opportunity to negotiate on the minimum order quantity.

Use China trade fair

China trade fair is an event organized by the Chinese government in the US.

It is an opportunity for Chinese suppliers to showcase their products to potential importers.

You can use this event to interact with various suppliers on the goods they manufacture.

Also, you can visit the manufacturer’s factory in China once you get their details.

Step 4: Request for Product Samples before Importing from China to the USA

One of the ways that you can ensure that you have the goods that you want is by getting samples from your supplier in China.

Once you have the samples, you can check on ensuring that that is the right quality.

Also, you can take the samples for government approval at the laboratory.

This will save you time when you are importing your goods.

Here are the sample details of your goods when importing from China to the US.

Free samples

Free samples – Source: Couponista

i. Receive and assess the quality of product samples

The basis of you requesting a sample is to determine if the sample is the right quality that you want for your product.

Once you have this sample, you can pass it through the relevant quality process.

One thing that you need to note is that some suppliers can be naughty when supplying you the samples.

What happens is that they will supply you a high-quality sample but deliver low-quality products.

To prevent this, try requesting the sample close to three times including using another address to compare the quality.

If you find even a slight deviation with no reasonable excuse, be cautious.

Sample quality can form the basis of your goods getting permission to get into the US.

When talking to the government agencies for testing, be keen on their feedback.

ii. Understanding the MOQ

The Minimum Order Quantity (MOQ) refers to the lowest quantity of a product that your supplier is willing to supply to you.

Different manufacturers have different MOQs depending on factors such as their production capacity.

You see, most suppliers and manufacturers don’t store the goods they produce.

So, when you order your goods, that is when they start the production process.

Again, the profit margin of most suppliers is pretty low which is brought about by the fierce competition that exists in China.

As such, for them to increase their profit margin, you will find most suppliers emphasizing a high MOQ.

This can be difficult especially if you are a small importer.

A way of lowering your MOQ is by negotiating with your supplier to reduce it.

Though practically, this will come at the cost of you having a higher price for your products.

iii. Sign a sales contract before bulk importing from China to the USA

Lastly, you need to sit down with your supplier and draft a sales contract before you embark on bulk importation of your cargo from China to the US.

A sales contract is an important element of your importation including as a proof of ownership or purchasing goods.

There are some instances where you will be required to produce this document, especially during inland transportation.

The details that you will find in the sales contract includes a description of your goods, terms of sale, payment terms and your details and those of your supplier.

Step 5: Choose a Secure and Safe Payment Method

One of the major concerns when it comes to international trade is finding a secure and safe method for making payment.

There are several means that you can choose to make payments on goods you import from China to the US.

However, you cannot just choose any payment method.

You need to minimize the risk that occurs when it comes to payments.

Some of the risks include you making payments without receiving the goods you ordered.

It can also be making payments for substandard goods.

To help you in choosing a payment option that will be secure, let me take you through the major payment options.

· Telegraphic Transfer

This is one of the oldest methods of payment that you can use.

It involves you wiring your supplier an advance payment before production of your goods and finishing up once you get the goods.

The risk that is available if you choose to use this method is your supplier not delivering after receiving the advance payment.

Ideally, you can use this method if you trust your supplier and if the transaction is for medium value.

· Letter of Credit

A Letter of Credit is the common and one of the most secure means of payment you can use when importing your goods.

By using a Letter of Credit, your commercial bank will undertake to pay for the goods you are purchasing.

The advantage of using this method is that there is a guarantee of your goods.

This is because your supplier won’t get paid unless you have received your goods.

Letter of Credit

Letter of credit – Source: arikeadl

You can use this method of payment when importing a large volume of your cargo from China to the US.

The limitation you have is that it is a complex process but that in itself serves to secure your payments.

Also, small suppliers in China don’t like using a Letter of Credit as a means of payment.

· Online Escrow

If you are a small importer let’s say for goods worth $5000, then you can pick online Escrow for your payments.

In China, Alipay Escrow is a common payment option which is owned by Alibaba Group.



Since Alibaba owns Alipay, it is enough evidence enough that this payment option is credible.

The disadvantage of using this method is perhaps getting goods that you didn’t order,i.e. low-quality products.

· PayPal

The popularity of PayPal as a method of payment in international trade is gaining momentum due to its improved features.

Most tech0 savvy supplier prefers this method of payment.

Ideally, you can use it to pay any amount of your goods.

However, there is a limitation to this method.

A transaction fee of PayPal is percentage based.

This implies that the higher the amount you transfer, the higher the amount you will pay.



Typically, what happens is that most suppliers who use this method will tell you in advance that you will cover this cost.

In return, you as the importer need to factor this cost on your selling price to stay the business afloat.

For better protection, always try to use “PayPal checkout” instead of transferring the payment directly to PayPal accounts.

· Cash

The common method of paying for any volume of your goods in China.

While making cash payments, you can either be present or have a representative.

Pay in cash

Pay in Cash

However, this is the riskiest option when importing your goods from China to the US.

In the event of occurrence of any event, you are the one who will be on the losing end.

You, therefore, need to ensure that you use this option only for the small volume of goods.

· Western Union

Western Union and PayPal are ranked top on the ease of using it as a payment option for your goods.

Many suppliers in China prefer this method of payment due to its efficiency.

However, you need to be cautious when using this method.

This is because tracing back the payment in case you don’t receive your goods is hard.

As such, I would advise that you use western union only with those suppliers who you trust with the delivery of your goods.

· International Credit cards

International Credit cards have a limited usage when it comes to international payment options.

Mostly, those suppliers who deal with electronics and computer accessories accept this payment option.

Most suppliers are afraid of using this method since they have expensive terms of charges and also chargeback issues.



All in all, security of your transaction needs to be of paramount due to the risks involved.

Perhaps you need to note that these risks can happen to both parties.

Either you as an importer or your supplier hence the need to ascertain security from both sides.

Before settling on a method of payment to use for your importation, you need to consider several factors.

They include: How each payment company resolves disputes surrounding payments.

And the cost associated with the use of a particular payment option.

Step 6: Get Reliable Import Handling Process

The safety of your goods will be determined by how best your cargo is handled right from your supplier to your doorstep.

Much of these have to do with the people you entrust to handle your product.

This section takes you through the process of hiring these entities who will handle your cargo from China to the US.

· Hire freight forwarder from China to the USA

There are many freight forwarders that you can engage to import your goods from China to the US.

However, not all these forwarders are reliable when it comes to importing.

Again, the process of finding a reliable forwarder can be complicated.

Here are tips you can go through when selecting a forwarder for your importation.

1) Understand your business needs

Before you start looking for a freight forwarder, you need to analyze what your business will need for your shipping.

The importance of this is that it lets you come up with the requirement for your shipping.

By doing this, you can come up with a list of possible forwarding companies that can handle your shipping.

Things that you can factor in here include Volume of your cargo, shipment type, available modes of shipping, annual shipments and convenient method of payments.

2) Analyze the forwarder’s experience

When we talk about experience, many confuse it with mainly being how long a forwarder has been in the industry.

In as much as that is important, there is more to that.

Experience also has to do with finding out how reliable the forwarder is to handle your cargo.

You need to check if the forwarder has all the expertise that you will need to ship your freight.

A reliable forwarder will ensure accurate shipping time as well as handling any shipping related problem.

Some of the areas you can check if your forwarder can handle include customs hassles, port shutdowns, workers strike, cargo rerouting and warehousing issues.

3) Handling of multiple shipping

Your freight forwarder needs to be in a position to handle multiple shipping.

This can be possible if the forwarder has networked with different shipping companies which handle different shipments.

Also, your forwarder needs to be flexible to your shipping demand.

That is to mean if you switch from air shipping to ocean shipping, your forwarder needs to be able to help you.

4) Point of contact

One thing to note is that you need t access your forwarder.

We are all aware that anything can happen during the shipping process including delays in shipping.

Having offices where you can get clarification on emerging issues can help you have a peace of mind during importation.

5) Experience customs agent

Having a customs agent will help in quick clearance at the customs.

You need to check if the forwarder has customs agents in China and the US who understands the customs procedure in both countries.

6) Cargo insurance

An essential aspect of importing your cargo is to ensure that your shipment has an insurance cover.

While you can make arrangements for it on your own, a freight forwarder will offer you at a competitive price.

7) Communication level

Importing from China to the US can be hectic with all the details involved.

You, therefore, need a freight forwarder who will be in constant communication with you during the importation period.

Check to determine the level of communication a forwarder has before choosing them for your importation.

8) Licenses and membership

To ensure that you are dealing with a legit forwarder, you need to inquire about their licenses.

These are the permits a freight forwarder is given by the government to enable them to carry out their business.

9) A legit forwarder will be willing to show you these documents.

Another area you can check on is the membership of a forwarder to the internationally recognized body such as FIAT.

One thing for sure is that having such membership indicates a high-quality service delivery.

You are therefore at an advantage by choosing such forwarders to carry out your importation.

Hire licensed customs broker from China to the USA

You can never underestimate the role of customs brokers when importing your goods from China to the US.

Some of the duties that a customs broker can help you with include arranging documentation and calculating the duties and taxes for you.

Customs broker

Customs broker

You, therefore, have to find a customs broker who is licensed to handle these functions.

Here is a look at how you can hire a licensed customs broker for your importation.

The National Customs Brokers and Forwarders Association of America (NCBFAA) and the International Federation of Customs Brokers Association are the two sites where you can find a customs broker in the US.

There are several things you can consider when searching for a customs broker in the US.

First, you need to check if they can handle your goods at your port of destination.

Not all customs broker can handle your goods at your port of destination.

As such, it is important to ask to find a customs broker who will do this for you.

Also, not all of them are licensed to process documents needed by certain bodies.

These bodies include the Food and Drug Administration and the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).

You will also need to inquire about the necessary documents that you will need to import your cargo.

This is important especially if you are importing products that require special permits and licenses.

Having a customs broker who can process these documents will assist you in the smooth importation of your goods.

Step 7: Get All Import Documents for Importing from China to the USA

Preparing all the documents that you will need to import your cargo from China to the US will surely facilitate your importation.

You will use these documents either at the customs or in getting your goods to your warehouse.

So, what are these documents?

· US Customs Invoice

If you are importing goods that are of US origin and their value is more than $ 2,500, you will be required to fill this form.

Customs invoice

Customs invoice

· Commercial Invoice

You will be required to present this document to the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) for clearance purposes.

Your supplier is the one who will prepare and hand this document to your forwarder.

Commercial invoice

Commercial invoice

The information that you can find in the commercial invoice includes country of origin, the name of the manufacturer, the number of quantities ordered and the price of the goods.

The CBP will use this information to determine how relevant your goods are.

It also serves as a basis for calculating the tax that you will pay.

· Packing list

The packing list contains the same information as the commercial invoice.

However, your forwarder is the one who will prepare and hand this document to the CBP.

Packing list

Packing list

The CBP will use this document as a reference when calculating the customs duties that you will pay.

Always ensure that the information in the packing list and the commercial invoice are the same before handing over.

· Bill of Lading/ Airways Bill

Depending on which method of shipping you use to import your cargo, your carrier will issue you with one of these documents.

This document ensures that your supplier gets paid as well as you receive your goods.

Bill of lading

Bill of lading

The information in this document includes name and address of the carrier as well as that of your supplier, details of your cargo and terms of delivery of your cargo.

· Arrival notice

This is another document that your forwarder will prepare addressing it to you indicating that your shipment has docked at the port of destination.

Arrival notice

Arrival notice

It includes the description of the goods that have the port’s authorities accepts into the US  and charges that you will pay at the port when you collect your goods.

It also indicates the goods allowed to enter into the US.

This document allows you to prepare early enough for quick processing of your cargo.

· Special permits

Special permits are those permits that you seek before importing certain restricted goods.

Also, when you are importing goods that require certification, you will need to have the documents.

These documents indicate that the imports have passed the necessary tests and are thereby allowed to enter the US.

Import permit

Import permit

Different permits are depending on the type of goods you are importing.

Always confirm with the CBP on which permits to have before importing.

Step 8: Understand the USCustoms Procedure

You don’t want to get stranded at the US customs due to lack of knowledge in the clearance process.

A slight delay in clearing your goods may mean a lot as an importer.

For instance, you may lose your clients due to late delivery, or you may even have to pay fines to the customs for the delays.

To prevent this, here is a look at the customs procedure in the US.

· CBP entry certificate

Once your goods are close to arriving at the port of entry, you or your customs broker will have to file for a customs entry form.

You can do this at the Port’s director in your port of entry.

CBP Entry Form

CBP Entry Form

The customs entry contains information such as the country of origin of your goods, description and the quantity.

It also includes the CIF value, the customs classification number as well as an estimate of the duty that you will pay on your goods.

The form will not be complete until your goods have arrived at the port of entry.

Here, the CBP will authorize them, and you will have to pay the necessary duties and taxes.

You will then be issues with the CBP entry.

Remember, if there is a need for an inspection of your goods, you are the one responsible for making the arrangement.

Apart from the CBP entry, if you are importing goods that need other permits such as FDA permits, you need to contact the relevant authorities to obtain the licenses.

· Right to make entry

This allows for only the rightful owner of the goods or an appointed licensed customs broker to import the goods.

You must, therefore, clearly stated the Bill of sale and either the Airway bill or Bill of lading.

· Documentation

You will need to have all the documents for the clearance of your goods at the customs.

Failure to have these documents may lead to confiscation of your goods, and you are paying fines.

The necessary documents that the CBP requires include Commercial invoice, the packing list, Bill of lading/Airway bill and arrival notice.

Also, if you are importing restricted goods, you will need to have the permits to import them.

I have discussed the details of these documents in this guide.

· Surety (Bond)

It is a requirement by the CBP that any goods that you must accompany every import to the US with a bond.

A bond acts as an undertaking that you will pay for the necessary duties and taxes on your goods.

You can obtain this bond through a licensed customs broker or a US-based surety company.

There are two types of surety bonds that you can have:

Annual bond – purchasing this bond means that you have covered all the imports that you will make within a year.

The pricing of this bind depends on the value of the goods you will be importing.

For instance, if the value of your goods is $50,000, it will cost you around $450.

The advantage of this bond is that you can extend a smaller bond.

Single Entry bond – if let’s say your import projection is between 5- 10 a year, you can purchase this bond.

Normally, it costs around 5% of the value of your cargo.

· Examination of the goods

Once you have submitted the CBP entry, the CBP officials will have to examine the goods.

The examination is generally on a random basis, but the chances are high that inspection of your goods will take place if you are a first-time importer.

Customs clearance

Customs clearance

Your goods will be released if they meet all the legal conditions. In case of any irregularity, you will be held responsible including payment of fines.

The purpose of examining your goods is basically to:

  • Calculate the duties to pay based on the value of your imports
  • Check if your goods followed the labeling
  • Check if the invoicing of the goods is properly noted
  • If the quantity is correct
  • If the shipment contains any prohibited goods

Remember, the CBP places emphasis on the packing and invoicing of your goods.

If during the examination the CBP official notes that you have packed goods that have different duty rates, then you will pay a higher duty for the goods.

This duty will even be more than the individual applicable duty.

Entry for Warehouse

In Case your goods have arrived, and you don’t have the necessary taxes and duties to pay, you can seek to differ the fees.

Once you do so, the customs will place your goods in a CBP bonded warehouse.

Your goods will remain there till you pay the duties and taxes. However, they can remain there for up to 5 years.

You can manipulate the goods while they are in the warehouse under the supervision of a CBP official.

Manipulation may include repackaging or branding.

You cannot store all the good goods in the CBP bonded warehouse goods that you cannot store here include explosives, prohibited goods or perishable goods.

· Undeclared goods

If you don’t preset a CBP entry at the port of entry 15 days from when your goods arrived, the CBP will place your goods in a general warehouse.

Here, you will pay all the charges that will accrue as a result of your cargo is in the warehouse.

Failure to produce the CBP entry within six months from the day your foods arrived at the port, the CBP will destroy or auction your goods

· Mail entries

If you are importing merchandise, you might consider using United States Postal Service (USPS) rather than a courier.

The reason for this is that there are some benefits that you will experience including:

Faster clearance since the letter carrier will collect the necessary duties if the value of your shipment is below $2,000.

Your shipping cost will be cheaper

There are no formal entry requirements when importing duty-free products that have a value of less than $2,000

You won’t have to declare personal goods if the value is less than $2,000.

Remember, when importing through USPS, you will need to complete the following: Attach the CBP declaration and the commercial invoice on the packaging of your goods securely.

In case you cannot secure these documents on the outside of the package, enclose it inside the package.

Step 9: Estimate Cost of Importing from China to the USA

Importing from China to the US is all about business and all its related costs.

You, therefore, need to factor all these costs to understand your business.

Importing cost will enable you to understand the total cost of your goods as well as what price to sell to obtain profit.



Here is an explanation too of these costs.

a) Cost of buying good from Chinese suppliers

The cost of buying your goods from your Chinese supplier will depend on several factors.

First, the quantity you are purchasing will dictate the cost of your goods.

When it comes to the quantity, most suppliers in China have a minimum quantity order for the importers.

This is the least quantity that you can order from them.

The higher the quantity you order, the lower the cost you will pay due to economies of scale.

Urgency is another factor that will influence the cost of your goods.

If you are in urgent need for your goods, the chances are high that you will pay a higher cost for the goods.

This is because they will have to fasten the production time production to meet your deadlines.

One thing that you need to note when importing from China is that many manufacturers can manufacture the same product.

Some of these manufacturers manufacture copies of other products at a lower price.

While the legality of such products is in question, you still enjoy the lower price of the same product.

That is if you are purchasing a copy of the product than the product itself.

b) Shipping cost from China to the USA

The shipping cost is another element of cost that you need to consider when importing from China to the US.

This is the cost that you will pay to have your goods delivered from China to the Us.

Whichever method of shipping you choose, you can either have ocean shipping cost or air shipping cost.

Each shipping cost has several elements that affect it.

COSCO Shipping

COSCO Shipping

For instance, ocean shipping cost entails bunker charges, port charges, and service charges.

On the other hand, air shipping cost is affected by labor, fuel, the speed of delivery, type of your goods and the weight and volume of your goods.

c) Cost of logistics

Though logistics and shipping may sound similar, the truth is that they are different.

Shipping is a part of logistics.

Logistics entails services such as material handling, warehousing, and packaging.

These costs are determined by a forwarder who you will engage to facilitate your shipping. in most cases; they will either offer guidance on packaging including packaging material and material handling practices of they do it for you at a fee.

A reliable forwarder will offer the best logistics price for your cargo.

d) Calculate import tax from China to the USA

Import tax plays an essential role in getting your goods to enter the US.

Failure to pay these taxes means that the customs will hold your goods and release them once you have paid.

You, therefore, need to understand these taxes and how to pay them.

Here is an explanation.

To make your importation easier, you need to classify your goods before they arrive at the port of entry.

To achieve this, you will use the Harmonized Traffic Schedule (HS) code.

Import Tax

Import tax

Basically, the HS code is a system that is used to classify goods according to the duties that you will pay.

The HS code is usually a 10-digit code which the customs will use to locate your product on the duty catalog.

Remember also to fill the correct HS code on your commercial invoice to facilitate the clearance of your cargo.

Also, remember to indicate the declared value of your import on your customs invoice.

The customs will use this value to determine the customs value.

Basically, import duty = Customs value * Duty Rate

The customs value consists of the cost of your goods, the transportation cost, and the import clearance cost.

You can use FOB to ship your cargo from China to the US.

If you are importing goods that exceed $2,500, the CBP will require that you have a TAX ID which you will submit to your customs broker.

You can obtain the TAX ID from the IRS.

You will have to pay a Merchandise Processing Fee of 0.03464% of the value of your goods.

The maximum value that you can pay on this fee is $485.

Another duty that you will pay is the Harbor Maintenance Fee which is 0.125%   of the value of your goods.

Remember, you will be required to purchase a customs bond for your goods.

The customs bond acts as a guarantee that you will pay the applicable duties on your goods.

It is mandatory that you purchase this bond if you are importing goods that are worth $2,500.

You will need a TAX ID and the power of an attorney for you to obtain the Bond.

Remember, if you are using a carrier such as FedEx, they will pay the duties on your behalf, and you pay them.

If you are importing via postal services, you will pay the taxes when you are collecting the goods.

Step 10: Identify Method of Shipping from China to the USA

Once you have your goods, you will have to choose a method that will ship your goods from China to the US.

There are several methods that you can use to ship your cargo that depends on several factors.

First, you can choose to ship your cargo via ocean from China to the US.

Suing this method is ideal if you are shipping a large volume of your cargo.

The reason for this is that ships normally allows bulk shipment at a relatively lower cost.

Also, there are some goods which you need to import using the ship.

JFK International Airport

JFK International Airport

For instance, if you are importing oil or coal, the only viable option is using ocean shipping.

The downside to this method of shipping is that it is quite slow.

Shipping your goods via ocean freight from China will take a couple of days to months for you to get your goods in the US.

You, therefore, need to do adequate planning if you are considering using this method.

Also, the availability of piracy can pose a challenge for your imports.

However, you can minimize this by making sure that you take an insurance cover for your goods before shipping.

The other method of shipping is through the air freight.

The choice of this method to ship your goods is convenient if you are shipping highly valuable and sensitive goods like gold and firearms.

The advantage of this method is that it will take a couple of hours to a few days for you to get your goods.

Also, when you compare to ocean shipping, the risks involved in air shipment are minimal than ocean shipment.

However, you are likely to experience certain shortcomings when using this method.

To start with, you will pay more to ship via air than via ocean.

This will add to your shipping cost which you need to factor in advance.

When shipping via air, there is a limitation to the size and type of product.

The size regarding weight limits your importation to small quantities alone.

The type of product means that you cannot import everything via air from China to the US.

When choosing this method, you need to confirm with the carrier on the goods you can ship via air.

If you are importing small quantity goods that are meant for meeting immediate demands or for sampling purposes, then you can use air shipping.

Before choosing a method of shipping your cargo, you need to consider several factors.

First, you need to consider the cost of shipping via a particular method.

Generally, ocean shipping is cheaper than air shipping.

The volume of your goods also plays a factor in the method of shipping.

If you have a large volume of goods, then you can prefer ocean shipping.

Also, the nature of your goods does count.

In case you are importing firearms or gold from China to the US, you are better of using air shipment since it is secure and fast.

On the other hand, you can safely import general cargo via the ocean.

Here is a simple guide for you: Shipping from China to the USA: The Ultimate Guide.

Step 11: How to Import Goods from China to Sell on Amazon

An increase in the usage of technology and internet penetration has seen many people involving themselves with online activities.

People are increasing searching the internet for what to buy while others are posting things to sell

One online platform that allows you to buy or sell an item online is Amazon.

This section takes you the process of importing your goods from China and selling them on Amazon.

Amazon FBA

Amazon FBA

1) Identify the product to sell on Amazon

Truth be told, you cannot sell just anything in Amazon without first analyzing it.

For you to sell on Amazon, you need to identify a product that will easily sell and increase your business.

There are many ways of identifying a product that you will import to sell on Amazon as we have discussed elsewhere in this guide.

The bottom line is that you need a product that will quickly sell and one whose profit margin is large.

2) Searching for suppliers

Once you have an idea of the product you want to import, you can now go ahead and look for potential suppliers.

The process of searching for a supplier can be hectic, but you can follow the tips in this guide to get one.

However, a reliable supplier needs to be able to deliver your items on time and at the best price in the market.

Remember to validate your supplier to ascertain that you are dealing with a legit supplier.

And don’t forget to communicate the specifications that you will need for your product.

3) Sample ordering

You don’t have to import a large consignment of your cargo at once without ascertaining some of its aspects.

As such, you can request for a sample to check on the quality of the product.

Also, some goods require laboratory testing before being issued with permits for importation.

You can use the same samples for these tests.

However, you need to be careful when ordering the samples.

Some suppliers tend to supply high-quality samples than what they will supply.

4) Place an order for your goods

Once you are satisfied with the samples, you can now order for the bulk of your goods.

You need to place an order early enough to avoid any late deliveries.

5) Importing your goods to the US

Once your supplier has finished the production of your goods, you can now go ahead and import them to the US.

Here, the services of a forwarder come in handy.

A forwarder will help you organize for all the logistics including methods of shipping your cargo from China to the US.

They will also handle your customs clearance in China and the US.

You can check out the tips of finding a freight forwarder that we have discussed in this guide to help you select one.

Also, you can go through the air and sea method of importing from China to the US that we have discussed in this guide.

6) Utilize Amazon FBA

You can utilize the services of Amazon FBA to import your goods directly from your supplier to an Amazon warehouse.

This makes your importation easier.

7) Market your product on Amazon

Once you have received your goods, you will have to register them on Amazon with your Seller Central account.

You will have to obtain the Seller Central account as early as when your products leave China.

8) Delivery of the products to clients

Amazon lets potential buyers view your products and decide if they will purchase.

Once they buy, you can go ahead and deliver the goods.

However, if you are utilizing the services of FBA, you won’t have to do the delivery since Amazon will deliver for you.

Step 12: BanSar, Your Trusted Freight Forwarder from China to the USA

BanSar is your preferred Amazon forwarder when it comes to importing your goods from China to the US.

We have been in this industry for enough time to understand your importation needs.

We have a team of dedicated staff that who are conversant with the customs procedure both in China and the US.

They will assist you in timely customs clearance of your goods.

BanSar China

BanSar China

In case you are in need of a warehouse to sort out your cargo, we will offer free warehousing for your cargo for up to 30 days.

What is more is that with our pocket-friendly prices, you will surely find a package that fits your importation.

We are easily accessible with offices both in China and in the US.

This gives you a perfect opportunity to reach us in case of any problem or assistance.

Get in touch with us today and experience a whole new way of importing your goods from China to the US.


As you can see, importing from China to the US is not as complicated as it looked like.

Yes, you may view the process as complicated in the initial phase, but with time you get to understand just how simple it is.

The process can be simplified further by having a reliable forwarder who can handle the importation on your behalf.

By the way, forwarders will handle nearly every method of importing your goods.

You, therefore, need a reliable forwarder who will keep updating you of your import process.

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