New importers may wonder how could they import wholesale products from China to USA. This article explains the whole process from selecting products to shipping. Just follow our steps and start your own business.
- Chapter1 What Kind of Products Are Good To Import From China To USA
- Chapter2 How to Find Reliable Manufacturing Companies
- Chapter3 How to Ship Your Products from China to USA
- Chapter4 Feight Charges & Shipping Time From China to USA
- Chapter5 Import Tax/Duty from China to USA & Custom Clearance
- Chapter6 Compliance Certifications You need to Know for Different Products
- Chapter7 Product’s labelling requirements
CHAPTER 1: What Kind of Products Are Good To Import From China To USA
For many people who just got the idea of importing wholesale products from China to USA, they often take it for granted that they can make a fortune by importing any Chinese products. Because they think all the products in China are so much cheaper than that in America, but it’s not true. So for thosepeople the hardest part is to choose suitable products.
Importing clothes, toys, shoes and electronic products from China are very popular in US and they are fine choices. Then how shall we make that choice? I summarized following matters which need your attentions based on my understanding of the market and my own experience. I hope it’ll help you.
1. What Kind of Products Are Not Suitable for Importing From China to USA?
Products with Brands
American brand products are usually cheaper in US. For instance, iPhone, MacBook, etc. Although they were assembled in China, the price in China is 20% higher than that in America. Nike is another typical example.
Besides, I do not recommend importing products even they are Chinese brand like DJI and Xiaomi. Because to import and sell these products usually require legal authorizations. You cannot just easily buy and sell to other people.
Products with High Tariffs
You may find the quotations provided by Chinese suppliers seemed pretty good, however, the total costs of importing these products from China to US would be too higher if you count tariffs. You may visit this website to check tariffs of different products:
If you can’t set a competitive price, then I suggest that you still buy better from U.S. suppliers.
Foods and Supplements
If you want to sell foods or supplements in America, then I suggest you to find local suppliers. Because the customs clearance of foods and supplements are difficult and the required food safety certificates are complicate as well.
So it’s not worth trying unless you’re an experienced importer. In addition, Chinese supplement industry is not as well developed as US, and China imports large numbers of supplements from US every year.
Low Value but Large Demand in Market
There are some low value products are in great demand. For example, the A4 paper. Plenty of new importers mistakenly believed that they could earn a lot money even if the profit is only 10%. Because they think these products are sellable at all times and they are always popular in the market.
However, based on my own experience, I don’t recommend you to import this kind of products unless you already got good sales networks. There are also similar products like toilet paper and baby diapers.
2. How to Find a Right Product Niche to Import From China to USA
Choose a Product Based on Your Interests, or Life & Working Experience
If you feel uncertain about what to import from China, the easiest way is to ask yourself. What’s your hobbies? What kind of industries are you familiar with? Got experience in any fields?
For instance, if you are a mother with a one-year-old baby. Then you are probably familiar with baby care products. You’ll be able to find out which baby bottle has good quality, or which baby diaper bags are better to use. Therefore, baby products must be a good choice for you. Or if you like outdoor activities and camping, then you definitely should start your business with outdoor products.
Choose Any Kinds of Product That Can Bring You Money
Unfortunately, if you didn’t have a specific hobby, or your hobby cannot help you find out any suitable products to start. Then just go ahead to choose any product that can bring you money. I’ve listed following valuable articles for your reference:
1）10 Latest Trending Products in China to Sell 2018
2）20 Trending Products to Sell in 2018
3）Top 25 Most Trending Products to Sell Online in 2018
4）Best Chinese products to sell in 2018
5）Top 10 Latest Trending Products in China to Sell on Amazon 2018
3. Choose A Product Which You Can Put Private Label On
When you are trying to find the right products, remember to keep an eye on the products which you can put your private labels on. More US people started to import high quality products from China and then use attractive packaging and printed their own logos. People are more willing to pay much money on these products.
I’ve discussed with my clients who started importing products from China many years ago, but they usually wholesaled these non-brand products to their local retailers directly. So the low profits and fierce competition are easy to predict. As a result, they have to consider cheaper and low quality products.
Many of these people realized import good products from China to US and make their own brand is a good solution, they just afraid of making big changes on their original business model. So if you just start importing from China to USA, then put private labels on you products would be the best choice.
CHAPTER 2: How to Find Reliable Manufacturing Companies for Importing from China to USA
Want to import products from China to USA but don’t know where to find the direct supplier with premium quality and reasonable price? Have no time travelling abroad to attend to trade shows overseas? Getting tired of visiting suppliers’ factory in such a hot summer? Here are several practical methods for you to choose according to your specific demands!
Method 1. Meet Chinese Suppliers/manufacturers in U.S.
As is known to all, there are many superior and professional Chinese suppliers attending to different U.S. trade shows every year: CES, Global Pet Expo, International Housewares Show, Toy Fair New York, ASD and more well-known international fairs. To get more trading shows info, please check here.
Most of these Chinese suppliers are medium to large size foreign trading companies or manufacturers. You can communicate with them face to face and of course. If lucky enough, you can find the latest products launched recently. Pretty cool, isn’t it?
To discuss further details such as price, OEM/ODM options, distributing requirements and more, you can exchange name cards with the exhibitors and contact via Skype, WhatsApp, Email or Wechat when they go back to China.
The only shortcoming is that the quotation offered will not necessarily be very competitive because firstly, the expense to attend to an oversea fair is high, think about the booth fee, visa fee, transportation and labor cost; Secondly, these companies invest more on quality control, innovation and brand building. Prices are different for different quality. So, product quality are the last thing you need to worry about.
Method 2. Meet Suppliers in China
If you don’t find satisfying suppliers in American fairs and want to do compare more with other suppliers before you make the decision, then coming to China will be highly recommended. Here are 2 options for you to find suppliers in China:
Option 1. Attend to Chinese Trade Shows
There are many trade shows in different manufacturing cities of China: Guangzhou, Shanghai, Yiwu, Shenzhen, Hong Kong, etc. If your business covers different categories, attending to trade shows such as Canton Fair will be your good choice because you can find all the products you want in one fair.
However, the time of these fairs are fixed. What if there’s no trade shows held in recent time while you have a purchasing plan? Maybe you can give it a shot in some well-known export city. Take Yiwu for example, this city is a paradise for shoppers which covers bags, crafts, furniture, jewelry and shoes, almost every export market but machinery. You can immerse yourself into the sea of commodities anytime you like except for Chinese Spring Festival.
Here are several lists for your reference:
2) Canton Fair
Note: You can also find your suppliers in YiWu, which is the city that full of almost every product except for machinery products.
Option 2. Collect Suppliers from Google and Visit Their Factory/Company
If you feel that it is like searching for needle in a haystack. You can do some research beforehand. For example, Google “XX manufacturer/suppliers in china”, replace XX with your products and get the result. You can mark them down and pick out the best 5-10 suppliers that you are interested in knowing more about them.
After that, make an appointment with their salesman and pay their factories a visit. By visiting your potential visitors’ factory, you can have a clearer understanding of the company and its product quality. This option is widely accepted by many sourcing managers because it’s much more efficient.
Method 3. Find Chinese Suppliers Online
If you neither planning to attend any fairs in China nor have enough time to travel far away, you can find suppliers online. In this e-commerce era, more and more retailers and importers source products and makes deals online.
There’s no need to worry about safety of transact online especially when you are using reliable third-party e-commerce or some Chinese wholesale websites. In these days, to save more time and budget, many sourcing managers are tending to place orders online, no matter small or big. Here are several e-Commerce websites for you to source products online:
Importing from china to usa by using Alibaba.Com
Alibaba, which is the well-known online B2B transaction platform that founded by Jack Ma in 1999, is the highly recommended one. The company handles sales between importers and exporters for 240+ countries. Alibaba has the most comprehensive and best suppliers included and here you can find the professional and reliable suppliers/manufacturers for your business.
However, the MOQ that required on Alibaba is high. So, if your purchase volume is small, it’s difficult for you to find the right supplier or the price is much higher.
Most Alibaba supplier require MOQ like $1,000 or $3,000, but you just need $400 value products. Some of these suppliers may sell you with that small quantity, but the price will be very high, because you are not their targeted client. In this case, DHgate and Aliexpress might suit your business better.
Some middleman or trading company suppliers on Alibaba uploads products under many different products categories to reach more audience for their online store. However, not all of the products they uploaded are of high quality so you need more time to figure out the best suppliers.
Brief Summary: Not all of products are necessarily of high quality even if they are labeled “Gold Suppliers” by Alibaba. So you need more time to verify if their quality is good, or if they are reliable.
Made-in-China.com & Globalsource.com
If you already find your best suppliers from Alibaba and think that’s enough, then you can skip this part.
However, as I’ve mentioned above, there are plenty of suppliers on Alibaba. You need more time and concentration to tell good suppliers from those hundreds searching result in Alibaba. To solve this, you can try the less popular but professional websites like Made-in-China and Globalsource.
Two more B2B online platforms that chose by global buyers are Made-in-China.com and Globalsource.com. Made-in-China has got more professional suppliers focusing on apparel, craft, vehicle and machinery industry while Globalsource for the electronics and gifts industry.
If you want to sell crafts to your market, Made-in-China will your good choice; If you run business related to the electronics industry, say projectors or bluetooth speakers, Globalsource will be your best choice.
Last but not least, Globalsource holds trade shows like Tools & Hardware in U.S from time to time to give more opportunity for exporters and importers to have a better communication offline.
Brief Summary: If you think Alibaba has so many suppliers that you can hardly find the most suitable suppliers, Made-in-China.com and Globalsource.com will be the perfect alternative.
DHgate.com and Aliexpress.com
Unlike Alibaba, Made-in-China and Globalsource that requires a MOQ of over $5,000, DHgate and Aliexpress require a smaller sourcing amount ($-$$). These two sites are the best choice for those Shopify, Amazon, Lazada and eBay stores owners or those offering dropshipping services.
Nevertheless, knowing the differences between these websites helps you a lot on making the right decision:
AliExpress is more suitable for those offers dropshipping services because buying 1 or 2 products is acceptable on AliExpress. GHgate is more suitable for startups and B2C e-commerce platform seller which can wholesale a small amount of the products to test their market.
Finally, If you want to learn more about china suppliers, read my latest release here,
Chapter 3: How to Ship Products from China to USA
Basically there are three ways to ship products from China to USA: express, air freight and sea freight.
1. What Kind of Shipping Methods You Can Use
“What shipping methods I could use?” is a frequently asked question. Because it’s a crucial step and people didn’t want to make unnecessary mistakes. The shipping methods can be very confusing especially for new importers. Don’t panic, we are here to help you solve these doubts. Below is a brief introduction of three shipping methods:
- Express (suitable for 1-1,000lb cargos, 4-7 days delivery)
- Air freight (suitable for more than 1,000lb cargos, 4-7 days delivery)
- Sea Freight (suitable for more than 2CBM cargos, 25-45 days delivery)
Express from China to USA
The international express is suitable for goods between 1-1,000lb. It has a low cost and the door-to-door delivery service is quite convenient. The express company is in charge of the whole shipping process, which means you don’t have to pay for the clearance at extra cost.
You don’t have to worry about the problems of customs. In fact, there’s nothing you should do and you can check the logistics information on express company’s official website at any time.
There are plenty of express companies to choose, e.g. UPS, FedEx and DHL are frequently used. But I usually suggest my client choose FedEx and UPS.
FedEx and UPS are local express company of US, and they both have strong distribution networks among America. Besides, they are professionals in clearances. However, DHL is a Germany company and it’s more suitable for European importers. Some of our clients would choose DHL because it’s cheap, but the delivery always delay.
Air freight from china to USA
Although express and air freight both transport goods by air and they are equally fast, the two shipping methods are completely different. The express was entirely operated and managed by express company, and they only charge you by weight. However, the air freight is as complex as sea freight. They both require import and export procedures.
The Chinese supplier only helps you send the goods to the airport near your destination, and you have to find a professional customs broker with the clearance. Then you need to use a local forwarding company to send the goods from airport to your warehouse.
The air freight is only suitable when your goods exceed 1,000lb because by then, the total costs would be lower than using express. Otherwise the express is a better choice.
Sea freight from china to USA
Compared with express and air freight, sea freight has the lowest cost. Normally the costs of sea freight would be 80% lower than using express or air freight, but the shipping time is longer. So if you are willing to wait for 25-40 days until you received the goods, or you want to reduce the shipping costs, then sea freight would be your best choice.
If you want to use sea freight, first of all, your goods should bigger than 2CBM (cubic meter). For sea freight got many fixed fees of import and export, so if your goods are smaller than 2CMB, then your shipping costs for each product would be too expensive.
Moreover, like air freight, sea freight has the same or even more complex procedures. You need to find a professional freight forwarder to help you with the land shipping in China, clearance and land shipping in US.
For shipping products from China to USA by sea freight, I can think of two ways:
- Chinese supplier arrange shipping to the sea port of USA.
- Your freight forwarder help you arrange shipping from China to your warehouse is USA.
As for first way, you only need to find an American customs broker or forwarding company. All Chinese suppliers can easily help you send the goods to main ports of USA.
You will need to use the trade term “CIF” with your supplier. So you only need to ask CIF price when you send inquiry to suppliers. After your goods arrived at the port, your customs broker will help you with the clearance and your forwarding company will send the goods to your warehouse.
If you choose the second way, then you need to find a freight forwarder first, then he will help you ship the goods from Chinese port to your American address. They will help you with the clearance and you have to do nothing. Please noted that under this circumstances, you have to ask your Chinese supplier the FOB price of their products. I’m in favor of this way because your freight forwarder will handle everything for you.
2. Who Will Help You Ship Products to USA?
Chinese supplier will help you ship by express
If you choose express to ship your goods from China to USA, ask your supplier to find the branch office of FedEx or UPS in your city and they will arrange the shipment for you. But the best solution is using express agent company, because the price is lower than you using a FedEx or UPS branch office directly . Chinese supplier will send you the cost of different express company for you to choose the best one.
So you only need to pay the freight to your Chinese supplier. There’s no tariff if the value of your goods is under under $800. It is possible to have tariffs if the value exceeds $800. But according to our previous experience, the duty is very small. You actually don’t have to concern about the duty, because express company, FedEx for example, will send the duty bill to the consigner (that is your Chinese supplier), and they will pay the bill. The express company will handle the whole process for you.
Find you own freight forwarding companies
If you choose sea freight or air freight. I suggest you to find a freight forwarder. Although China and America both have freight forwarder, my suggestion is to find a American freight forwarder. Because a good shipping forwarder should be professional and provide good service and smooth communication.
Due to the time difference, the communication between you and Chinese freight forwarder would be very inefficient. Though the Chinese freight forwarder is cheaper, I believe you won’t waste your time on the communication just for the price. (Example: Amy – an Amazon seller – hired a cheap freight forwarder. Unfortunately, her goods were inspected and detained by American customs for two weeks due to the unprofessional customs broker. It caused extra fees as well as delayed the delivery. So, just do the math).
You can use google to find some American freight forwarder. At the beginning, you can hire different freight forwarder until you find the best one. Then you can build a long term cooperation with him/her.
You can ask some common question relative to shipping and importing after you hired a freight forwarder, like what kind of products can’t be imported, what kind of products can’t be shipped by air or what kind of products required certificates.
Chinese supplier help you deliver to your address
If you never hired freight forwarder before or you can’t find a suitable freight forwarder, or you just don’t feel like spending time on searching. Then you can let your Chinese supplier help you find a Chinese freight forwarder and ship your goods to your address directly through sea freight or air freight.
If your supplier has a lot of American clients and often send goods to America. Then he probably got some freight forwarders who can help to send goods to your warehouse. The total costs might be lower than using your own American freight forwarder. Because the competition between Chinese freight forwarders are extremely fierce.
But if your supplier rarely send goods to America, then he probably didn’t have any good freight forwarders who can provide all included shipping service to deliver to door. They may only help you ship your good to American port.
Chapter 4: Feight charges & Shipping Time From China to USA
How long does it take & Costs for Express
The fastest shipping way is express, and FedEx and UPS is the fastest among all the express companies. FedEx has two kinds of express which has different speed, FedEx IP (International Priority) and FedEx IE (International Economy).
The FedEx IP could ship your goods from China to your warehouse or Amazon warehouse in USA within 3-4 working days, and FedEx IE may require 5-7 working days. But IP is more expensive than IE. So except for emergency, IE would be enough.
The FedEx IE price is around $6-$7/kg (from China to USA). The express price may change every week and it will increase or decrease during peak season and slack season. You can use $6.5/kg for reference and calculate the shipping costs.
If you use express or air freight, you must pay attention to the “dimensional weight”. You can use the formula below to get the dimensional weight of your goods. If your goods are light but huge (e.g. baby diaper, cotton), the express company will charge you according to the dimensional weight. Otherwise they will just charge by the weight.
Dimensional weight = width(cm)*height(cm)*length(cm)/5000
For example, if you use express to ship 1000 baby diapers, then the express company would definitely charge freight as per dimensional weight. Because the product is light but it will occupy a lot spaces.
How long does it take & Costs for Air Freight
If you choose air freight, it will take almost the same time with express, or it will take slightly longer. It depends on the flight chosen by your freight forwarder carriers.
The air freight is as complex as sea freight. You have to consider not only the unit price of freight, but also many import and export fees, and land shipping fees in China and USA. You has to inquiry your freight forwarder about the specific fees and how much you will spend.
I could tell you that if you want to ship goods less than 1,000lb, then you could choose express instead of air freight. When you need to ship goods more than 1,000lb, then choose air freight will cost you less, but it won’t be too much. So you could use FedEx freight for reference when you want to calculate the costs of air freight.
The air freight also counts dimensional weight, but the calculation is a bit different. The dimensional weight of air freight =width(cm)*height(cm)*length(cm)/6000. That is to say, air freight is cheaper than express when shipping light goods.
How long does it take & Costs for Sea Freight
Sea freight and air freight both require complex import and export procedures. So you will need a professional freight forwarder to help you. There are lots of fees involved when you use sea freight to ship your goods from China to your own warehouse or Amazon warehouse in United States.
If you are a new importer and want to know how much the sea freight might cost. I can offer you the total cost of small goods like 3-5CBM for reference.
If you want to ship your goods from China to South America, usually the total cost would be $300/CBM. If you want to ship to West America, the sea freight cost and other fees would lower than $300 USD/CBM. As for East America, it would higher than $300 USD/CBM.
If you need a full container to ship your goods. Then your total shipping costs can be lower to $100/CBM. But it also means you have to ship a huge number of goods. Because a 40″ HQ container can bring 68CMB goods.
Because everyone may have their own destination. So I could only offer a rough time estimation of shipping time for your reference.
Since your supplier sent the goods to the warehouse of your freight forwarder at Chinese port, the goods may take 25-30 days to arrive your warehouse at West America. 35-40 days for East America. The customs clearance time and land shipping time in America was included.
Chapter 5: Import Tax/Duty from China to USA & Custom Clearance
The importer has to classify the products before they arrive at the U.S. border. This classification is performed by using the Harmonized Traffic Schedule (HS) code. The import duty depends on the HS code, declared value and the country of origin.
Most of the time, the duty is calculated in percentage (for example, X %) based on customs value. But, some products have a fixed upper and lower limits (for example, X% (min. $Y / max. $Y) on duty.
Find 10-Digit HS Code of your Goods
Customs officer can’t open each box and check every imported good. This is where HS Codes help.
A ten-digit HS Code or Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System is a part of an international product classification system.
This code is associated with each imported product category with particular import duty. Customs use this code to locate the product among catalogs.
The Commercial Invoice should have a correct HS code. To avoid delay in the customs clearance process or paying wrong customs duty.
The customs value is determined according to the declared value, which shall be mentioned on Commercial Invoice.
Import Duty = Customs Value * Duty Rate
In the United States, customs value is based on the following:
- Product Cost
- Transportation Cost (to Port of Loading in China)
- Export Clearance
Most importers choose FOB. In this scenario, the Chinese supplier will handle the entire process of internal transport to the nearer airport or port. The supplier will prepare all customs documents for exporting and also bear the local charges.
You can handle the rest by working with your customs broker or freight forwarder.
For a shipment valued over $2,500, the individual/business should have a Tax ID or EIN, assigned by the IRS. This ID should be provided to the Customs Broker as well.
Merchandise Processing Fees (MPF)
MPF applies to all air and sea shipments and is calculated as 0.3464% of the value of goods. The minimum value is the US $25, and the maximum value is the US $485.
Harbor Maintenance Fees (HMF)
HMF applies to all sea freight shipments and is set at 0.125% of the value of the goods. It has no minimum or maximum value.
You can buy a Customs Bond from your Customs Broker before the cargo departs from the Port of Loading in China. Single Entry Customs Bond is valid for one shipment, while Continuous Entry Customs Bond is valid for a fixed duration.
Customs Bonds are mandatory only if the value of the shipment is the US $2,500 or above, or a Formal Entry is required. Customs Bonds can be acquired for shipment values below US$2,500, but in this case, it’s not mandatory.
To buy Customs Bond, you need to provide the Customs Broker with Tax ID and sign a Power of Attorney.
How and when should you pay Import Duty?
If postal services ship your products, you have to pay carrier or visit your local post office for paying customs duty and processing fee owed when the package arrives at the post office.
If your products are imported via courier service, such as FedEx, the delivery courier will pay the duty on your behalf and bill you for the same.
But if you ship your goods via freight services, including air freight or sea freight:
1). If there is no arrangement to forward the product at your doorstep, you have two options. You need to either clear them through customs yourself. In this case, you will pay customs duty directly at the airport or port where your goods arrived. Alternatively, you have to talk to an American freight forwarder to help import your goods from China to your home in USA. The freight forwarder will bill you for their services and any duty it paid on your behalf.
2). If arrangements were made by your Chinese supplier to forward the goods to your door, you would be billed for the customs duty to your supplier.
I recommend finding your own freight forwarder for a long-term relationship. It is because not all suppliers can find an all-included shipping service freight forwarder. These suppliers have customers all around the globe, and they lack good resources for importing goods from China to the United States.
Let professionals, freight forwarder or your Chinese supplier, handle the complicated process of customs clearance to avoid mistakes.
There may be other costs involved apart from the cargo value when importing goods from China to the USA.
You can calculate the total customs value by doing your research or seeking help from the customs or your freight forwarder. Ideally, you can combine both approaches to successfully and safely land the product at your door.
Calculating accurate customs duty and preparing all documents in advance will ease the customs clearance process. You will need to submit all these documents to the customs authority in order to facilitate import of your cargoes into the US.
Once you have calculated customs duty and prepared customs documents, the next step is customs clearance process. Customs clearance involves representing importer during customs examination, duty payment and co-tacking cargo deliver from customs after clearance along with the documents.
Custom Clearance Process
Clearing customs for the products imported from China to the USA is the biggest challenge for most importers. Knowing the process is hard, but dealing with the regulations, paperwork and tariff in real-life is not less than a nightmare.
Top of that, customs officials are unforgiving if there is even a single minor error in paperwork. Using a trustworthy customs broker, freight forwarder or a logistics company can handle customs clearance fast and efficiently.
Important Documents Required for Custom Clearance
You need the following customs clearance documents to clear imports from China into the United States:
The Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers use the information on the commercial invoice to determine the admissibility of the imported goods. The main purpose of this document is calculated tariffs. It should provide detailed information about the products, such as:
- Product quantity
- The U.S. address for shipping the items to
- Location of the seller of the merchandise
- Purchase location
- The value in both Chinese and U.S. Dollars
- Name of the business/individual selling the merchandise
- Business’ name and address
- Country of Origin
The shipper or your freight forwarder provides the packing list that contains information from the commercial invoice. The CBP uses both the invoice and the packing list to verify the cargo.
Bill of Lading
Carrier or shipper issues the BOL and is signed by the vessel’s owner. This critical document ensures the exporters receive their payment and importers receive their goods.
Arrival notice is prepared by a freight forwarder or customs broker to let the consignee know that the shipment has arrived. It includes a description of the products accepted in port, information of cargoes entered the U.S. border and charges to be paid at the time of pickup.
Getting these documents properly ready and on time is not easy. Also, these documents should together provide valuable information during the customs clearance process of the import.
Approaching a freight forwarding service or customs broker helps clear your customs swiftly and smoothly so that you pay attention to your major business activities.
The Entry Process
When a cargo arrives at the U.S. border, the customs broker or importer files entry documents at the port of entry. When the customs sign off on the shipment and release it, your freight forwarder will have to file the Customs Entry within ten days. Imported items do not legally enter the United States until after the cargo has arrived within the port of entry, CBP authorized the merchandise delivery, and calculated customs duties have been paid.
How an American freight forwarder or Customs broker can help ease the customs clearance process for your imported goods?
The best way is to talk to an American customs broker or a freight forwarding service.
Customs brokers are authorized by the tariff laws of the U.S. to serve as agents of the importers in the transaction of their customs business. They can be an individual or a firm holding the license by CBP to prepare files required for customs custody. The fee charged may vary from one customs broker to another, depending on the extent of services performed.
Similarly, freight forwarders provide huge services to people who are importing goods overseas. They provide services by hiring a licensed customs broker. During the entire process, your freight forwarder pays duties on the shipment and ensures the items are released from the customs.
- Therefore, in case of an issue with the customs clearance process, you can ask the freightforwarder for clarification on the same. Your Chinese supplier might shipping to many countries and may not have specific knowledge of the U.S. customs clearance process.
- Freight forwarders, customs brokers and logistics companies are equipped and skilled tohandle the shipment of all types of items – large or small, fragile or solid. They know the rule for everything.
- A freight forwarder can ship your products at your doorstep instantly after the purchase.
Perform Google Search to Find a Reliable American Freight Forwarder
There are so many freight forwarding service providers available in the United States. Different freight forwarder provides a different level of services and quality of services. So, it is important for you to do your research and find the right and most suitable freight forwarder for your importing needs.
A good freight forwarder provides fast and professional services. They have an excellent record of previous clients and customs. You should develop a long-term relationship with your freight forwarder if you’re going to import from China to the U.S. again in future.
A bad freight forwarder can delay the customs clearance process and may even result in being destroyed or returned back to China.
A good service provider helps you at each step of the process and also collects documentation for you while cutting down all hassle on your way.
Clearing customs process is undoubtedly a daunting task. It may seem easy on the surface, but is usually very complicated for importers to handle it by themselves. The best option is to hire a freight forwarder who will handle the entire process on your behalf.
Make sure you collect all required information and documents from the Chinese supplier in advance to avoid unnecessary issues and delays in the process of customs clearance.
CHAPTER 6: Compliance Certifications You need to Know for different products
Do you intend to import goods from China to the US but don’t know how or where to get compliance certifications? Worry less as you have come to the right site! Our aim is to assist people like you to get the right compliance certificates and import goods to US easily.
Does Your Supplier(s) Lack Compliance Certifications?
It is important that when you are looking for a supplier in Alibaba or some other place, you should check and see if they have the relevant certifications. Normally, suppliers who do not have certificates for US policy or laws are all ignored. Actually, it is fine to do this.
On the contrary, if you come across different factories without relevant certificates but with an extremely competitive price, high-quality samples, and well-designed products than those of certified companies; can you still purchase these products? Of course, you can.
For instance, if the product is very simple and the factory in question has exported lots of products to the US and EU, then this implies that the quality of the product is not an issue at all. What you are required to do before purchasing is to allow the factory send the samples to the test laboratory of China and carry out the needed certificate testing. If the testing is passed, then you can place an order.
Note that product certification is usually needed in sensitive industry and market areas where a failure could have grievous effects, like negativity affecting the health and welfare of individuals or people using that product. Such sensitive products include food, hazardous products, health products, products with RF emissions, and pharmaceuticals.
For example, if your product choked or harmed a kid, it will be perceived as not suitable for that group of people or market. Thus, you should make sure that the product you are buying has the right ingredients and labeling.
For the many years that we have been in this industry, it is very possible to come across some factories that communicate poorly in English. In addition, you may discover that they don’t possess the certificates of compliance.
In most cases, such factories are based in a small city or town in China, but with very competitive prices for similar products. So, if you want to save some cash on such products, you will need to overcome these small difficulties like language barrier to get the best deals. Testing your product in China is as well very cheap. Stop thinking that it is a very difficult issue!
Where to get your own product certification
Most of our clients don’t know where to get product certifications. But we always help them to find one. You can get your product certification from testing labs in China, USA, and many other countries. It depends on where you are buying your product from and the place you prefer to conduct the test.
In China, you can get certifications from world notable companies such as INTETEK and SGS. Additionally, you can find some local Chinese testing companies, whose price is normally half or less of that of the world companies. A good number of certifications issued by local Chinese testing companies are good for the customs clearance in the US. But for Amazon, your Chinese testing company has to be verified by associations like CPSC in the US
For our company, we usually cooperate with a Chinese testing agency known as BETS. This firm normally needs around $200-$300 only for lab testing an electronic product according to the FCC standard. The cost is very fair.
As for Chinese testing companies, it is normally challenging to find them unless you go to Canton fair or fairs in Hongkong. Another difficulty that you are likely to face is that most of the Chinese testing companies do not have English sales representatives. Therefore, you will have to get your Chinese supplier to help you get a testing lab within. The supplier will send samples to the lab on your behalf.
When is the best time to take a test?
If you want to have your personal certifications, the most ideal time for sending samples for testing to the lab is after the massive production. The testing laboratory normally tests the product in line with the laboratory’s internal processes and with the techniques listed in the test standards particularized by the certification system. Later on, the results of the test are then sent back to the manufacturer or product certifier where you will have to pick them.
In case you are not sure whether the supplier’s product quality is good enough to pass the lab test, then it is best to send the sample of the product to the testing company first. After one week, if the testing is passed, you can go ahead and place an order from the supplier.
If you are very confident in the quality of the supplier’s products and they have many American/European clients, then you can wait for the mass production of your product to complete, pick a couple of samples from the batch, and send it to the lab for testing. But you will also have to be certain that you get certification earlier before the product arrives at the US custom, or else the customs clearance will be delayed.
So, before you export your product to the US, you will have to ensure that it meets all the legal requirements, produce a report that indicates your product is certificate compliant, and also provide evidence that the product is manufactured with quality assured management systems such as ISO 9001 or ISO 14001. That’s what we have been doing to help clients to successfully import their products from China to the USA.
Chapter 7: Product’s labelling requirements for importing from china to USA
A series of federal and state regulations govern the consumer product labels in the United States. Products with incorrect label can’t be legally placed on the market. The US customs can officially return cargo that has not a label of the country of origin. That’s why it’s important to understand labelling requirements to import products from China to the USA.
1. Made In China Label Requirements
Why is country of origin label needed?
Country of origin is where the product is grown, manufactured or produced. The ‘country of origin’ label:
- Makes it obvious that the product can be imported.
- Ensure that the product clears rules efficiently.
- Provides the US with important statistics on imported goods that help future analysis on the country’s economy.
Country of origin labeling requirements for imported merchandise from China into the US
According to custom regulations, every product imported to the USA should have a label:
- Written legibly and permanently in English.
- Clearly and visibly located on the product.
Some products exempted from the country of origin labelling include those:
- Not for resale
- Incapable of being marked, like tiny articles
- Crude substances
- Produced over 20 years before importation
- Ruined if marker, like fruits
In this case, the packaging of the product should be marked.
Label on products not entirely made in China
Except in case of a substantial transformation, the country of origin on the components of a product should remain. There are penalties for unethically removing the country of origin marking.
Certain regulations involve the permanency of a marking, depending on a specific product. Consult with an experienced attorney who understands the facts to determine whether a substantial transformation has taken place and to recommend marking language.
Made Vs Assembled
All the manufactured products should be legally labelled ‘made’ or ‘assembled’ to provide the information regarding the country of origin before being imported from China to the USA.
“Made” indicates that the product and all the parts used to manufacture the product was originated from the same country. “Assembled” indicates that parts came from the other country and the product was assembled in its final form by the sourcing manufacturer.
So, by law, only products that were made in China should have made in China label. Wrong labelling leads to strict investigation and final determination by the US Customs & Border Protection Agency (CBP).
2. Labelling Requirements for Imports of Toys from China to USA
The CPSIA regulations
CPSIA (Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act) regulates the manufacturing and import of toys and children’s products in the USA. All products in this category must have a tracking label that includes:
- Product name
- Batch ID
- Importer information
- Contact details
Different categories of toys
There is a different security regulation on toys imported to the USA, depending on the age of children they are designed for. Accordingly, toys are categories as follows:
- For infants (aged 3 or under)
- For toddlers (aged 3-5)
- Children aged between 6-12
The younger the child, the stricter the regulation to protect children from risks such as toxic effects or potential choking hazards.
Tracking label for toys
A tracking label has to be attached to the actual toy or the packaging of the product for legal import from China and sale of toys in the USA. According to CPSIA, the tracking label should show:
- Date & Place of Manufacturing
- Batch Number or other relevant identifiers
- Importer Details
- Warning labels (e.g. loose parts, age recommendation)
Additional labelling rules for infants and toddler toys
Toys for infants and children should be accompanied with a product registration card that displays:
- Manufacturer’s name and contact details
- Manufacturing date
- Model name, batch number or other relevant identifier
- Prepaid shipping label to be used by buyers for optional product registration or recalls.
- Option for buyers to enter their own details and register their purchase.
- Option for buyers to register their details online
- Importer should retain the records of registered buyers in case of future product recalls
Choking hazard labels for toys
Choking hazard should be labeled on the following:
- Toys meant for children aged 3-6 years old and contain small parts.
- Balls with a diameter smaller than 1.75 inches and meant for children aged 3-6 years.
- Toy containing balloons and meant for children of 12 or under, should include the text ““Children under 8 yrs can choke or suffocate on uninflated or broken balloons. Adult supervision required. Keep uninflated balloons from children. Discard broken balloons at once” with label.
- Marble product and meant for children of 3 or older should state “This toy is a marble. Not for children under 3 years” with label.
- Toy containing a marble and is meant for children aged 3-8, it must state “Toy contains a marble. Not for children under 3 yrs” with label.
3. Labelling Requirements for Imports of Electronics from China to USA
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulates the virtually all consumer electronic products, including WiFi, Radion transmission and Bluetooth, etc., imported to the USA from China and other Asian nations.
FCC Mark or Labelling Requirement
The FCC mark indicates compliance with FCC Part 15 Subpart B . There are various types of FCC for certain types of electronic products.
Two different regulations control Intentional (Bluetooth speakers, radios, smartphones and WiFi devices) and Un-intentional radiators (earphones, power packs, PCB, earphone, etc.)
Normally, the FCC mark shall be permanently affixed to the product unit. No stickers or temporary labels are allowed. But, as per the recent changes in the rules, businesses may label the items digitally instead of printing the FCC logo, or compliance statement, on the product. Items that are not within the FCC scope may not be labelled with the FCC logo.
UL and RoHS are optional but not required by law. These labels act as a seal of quality.
4. Labelling Requirements For Imports of Textile & Clothing from China to USA
For Textile Fiber Products
This act covers clothing and textile of all materials other than wool and fur. Textile fiber products with a next should have a label on the center of the neck to show following textile label requirements:
- Country of origin
- Fiber content
- Manufacturer or importer’s information
Wool Products Labelling
- Percentages by wool’s weight and other fibers used in the product.
- The maximum percentage of total weight of non-fibrous matter used in the product.
- Manufacturer or importer name with their RN number.
- Country name where the wool product was processed or manufactured.
Fur Products Labelling
- Animal’s name
- Fur is pointed, dyed, bleached or artificially coloured
- Fur is used or damaged
- Country of origin
Labels much include the Chinese manufacturer’s name, registered identification number (RN) of importers’, or the wholesaler or retailer, according to FTC that issues RNs to the American companies handling textiles.
This label provides information needed for the consumer to avoid damage to the product through normal use.
It should have drycleaning and washing instructions for the following five elements or care label requirements:
- Hand wash or machine washable
- Warnings (For instance, if the garment cannot be ironed, it should have “Do Not Iron” label.)
For more details on clothing label requirements, click here.
5. Labelling Requirements For Imports of Food from China to USA
Although foods or drugs are categories that most importers will not consider to import from China, but still list things for who will need. U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) administrate the labelling of food manufactured and imported to the USA.
Basic Elements of a Food Packaging Label
- Statement of identity
- Nutrition facts
- Product’s net weight
- Manufacturer’s address
- Ingredients list
Nutrition Facts Labelling Rules
It consists of three parts:
- Serving size
- Vitamins and minerals, calories, total carbs, sodium, total fat and protein.
FDA food labelling regulations strictly require the text and background colours to make good contrast (recommendable black font on white background) to make the information readable.
Serving size requirements
Determine the correct serving size using the RACC values on the FDA website. Mention if your product is single-serving or multi-serving food packaging.
Use a description of the container; 1 cup or 1 container for single-serving food and household and metric measurements for multi-serving food.
The ingredients list, Allergens and Health Claims
List the ingredients by weight from the heaviest to the lightest ingredient along with the allergens, if present.
For more details on food labelling requirements in the U.S., visit this link.
6.Acceptable Labeling Format and Risks of Wrong Labeling
Most manufacturers seem to work with the .esp and .ai (Adobe Illustrator) files. However, you may provide the supplier with the drawings you prefer for the label.
Warning: what you send to the supplier is what they will print; therefore, ensure everything is correct before sending.
If a product is not rightly labeled, it will not be legally placed on the market, the customs body has a right to return a cargo it.
If a company is dealing with non-compliant products, then they are subjected to heavy fines depending on the severity of the violations.
I’d Like to Hear From You Now
I believe that you have probably learned about the process of importing from China to the United States. As you have seen, it is not difficult as it seems.
Well, are there any related problems in your actual business? And did you look for answers in this article but didn’t find one? Or maybe you didn’t understand some of the points in the article?
There is no need to worry as I am here to reply to comments and answer questions like the ones above. So, if you have a question or thought, just leave a comment below and I’ll answer you gladly.