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How to Import from China

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Old 04-21-2008, 11:38 PM
madeinchina madeinchina is offline
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Default How to Import from China

1. Find the products youre interested in. There are many sources to find your products. the internet is the easiest one to start with. there are many web listing services, including here, you can register your username, post the products of your interest, and you will receive tons of products supply information and perhaps a price list.
2. Establish a relationship with potential suppliers. Select a few potential suppliers to communicate with. Narrow down the ones that you really want to work with. discuss the price and trade relationship. Obtain product samples. Discuss shipping and payment terms. Gather all necessary information to prepare for placing a trial order.
3. Understand trade terms and use them. Before placing any order, you need to understand and confirm with your suppliers about shipment terms. Most popular are fob and cif, as well as payment terms. These are closely related to your landing cost calculation and risk assessment. You can consult an import management company and a freight forwarder for detail break-down on the costs and risks. You can also use an import management company to negotiate the trade terms.
4. Do your homework on compliance issues. You need to understand the relevant import compliance regulations beforehand. Besides US Customs and Border Protection, other government authorities like USDA, FDA, DOT, and atf also regulate the importation. pay particular attention when you import textile products from china. Go to the websites of these agencies to understand, register or download the forms. compliance issues can be very complicated for some products. It is highly recommended to consult a good customs house broker before placing any order.
5. Select a forwarder and customs house broker. Go to your local international trade organization/association and customs office to find the list. Visit them, and select the one you like. For the first time importer, use more individualized services, because you need more attention than you would expect.
6. Place a trial order with a written purchase order if everything goes well. In the purchase order, besides typing out a detailed description of the products and trade terms, list all needed shipping documents.
7. Appoint an inspection company to check your goods on site in the factory, and give you a detailed report. This is usually done a few days before the expected shipment, so you can address any issues that would be raised. This will allow you to avoid receiving defective or non-conforming goods.
8. Track the transportation and customs clearance. Your forwarder and customs broker should take care of your transportation and customs clearance. However, you also need to track the process and assistance, such as providing additional products information and endorsing bill of landing. You need to issue a power of attorney to your broker and purchase customs bond for your importation.
9. Receive the products and keep the records. Now you can go to your next step to sell your products and make profit.

* Pay attention to the kind of business of your supplier; are they manufacturers, or 3rd party suppliers? Compare the advantage and disadvantage. Manufacturers may have a faster response in the process of product development, while 3rd-party suppliers have broader channels that can satisfy your other needs in the future. Working with 4th-party suppliers is not recommended.
* Establishing healthy personal relationship with the key employees of your supplier is very important when doing business with Chinese people. Learn the term guanxi (gwan-shee), which loosely means relationship, and keep in mind that saving face is very important for Chinese people.
* You need to have a good estimate of the landing cost before you make your order. Landing cost = cost of the goods fob + transport costs by forwarder + import duties (if any) + local transport costs + cost of service providers (inspections, agents, etc.). There may be many hidden costs and you can consult an import management company, but the best way to avoid bad surprises is by making a first order of a small quantity, and collect all costs and fine tune your landing cost estimate.
* Pay attention to import duties. Import duties depend on hs code of the goods you import, the countries of origin (China) and destination. If your Chinese supplier has some export experience, he shall know what is the HS code for your product, but do your homework and check the product description of the HS code corresponds to the product you import. Definitions are sometime vague. A wrong HS code may delay the custom clearance of your shipment.
* A letter of credit is commonly used in trade with China. Go to your bank to get detail formality and cost.
* Export agents in China are very commonly hired by Chinese exporters. Some of these export agents are also 3rd-party suppliers, others just provide export services.
* Neglecting compliance can be very costly. This may force you to pay expensive and unexpected customs duty, such as anti-dumping duty, as well as risk delaying your customs clearance. This will cost you expensive storage fees at a railway station or container yard.
* If solid wood packaging material is used, talk to your broker. Sometimes vallet packing is necessary to reduce the transportation cost during the process of loading and unloading. Talk to your forwarder for details. All wooden packaging for export must follow the nimp15 treated wood specifications. If your supplier is using wooden packaging, make sure he delivers a nimp15 certificate with other export documentation.
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