Importing from China?


Often referred to as ‘the factory of the world,’ an estimated £2.6 billion of the UK's imports come from China. China is the UK’s largest non-EU import partner, so there are several opportunities available for British companies importing Chinese goods.


importing from China





Whether interested in lower-priced goods for a competitive edge or fresh inventions, which allow you to introduce a new product to the UK market, there are 11 factors to consider when importing from China:


1.  Objectives

What are you trying to achieve by importing? (E.g. a cheaper source of supplies or innovative technology)


2.  Supplier

Are they reliable? Are their products quality assured? Do they outsource any work?

Please note: It is important to understand Chinese culture to establish a prosperous relationship. For example, learning some short Chinese phrases would be appreciated.


3.  Negotiation

What are the priorities of your supplier? What are your weaknesses and strengths? How could you use these to aid your supplier and negotiate a better deal?


4.  Contract

A clear and concise contract will help all operations run smoothly. It is best to use International Commercial Terms. Other important factors include currency, payment method and delivery.

Please note: International Commercial Terms (Incoterms) are a group of rules published by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC). They outline the responsibilities of both the buyer and seller when delivering goods, which are under sales contracts.


5.  Incoterms

Using the correct Incoterms will avoid any dispute between you and your supplier. Incoterms establish the rules and responsibilities of the importer and exporter. We suggest you use FOB terms for the purchase of your product. Based on FOB terms your supplier will pay the correct freight charges in China and you will pay the freight from the port in China to your chosen UK address. Cargocost will take care of all your shipments on FOB terms.


6.  Transportation

What are your transport needs? Do your goods need to be delivered quickly? If yes, then airfreight is your best option. Or do you need to import a large quantity of goods at a low-cost? If yes, then sea freight is your best option.


7.  Declare your goods

When importing from outside the E.U. into the UK all goods must be declared to the HMRC. This can be done by using a c88 form


8.  UK trade tariff

This tariff identifies the rates of duty you are entitled to pay and locates both duty and import VAT rates. It can also inform you whether your import needs a license.


9.  Commodity code

Finding the correct commodity code for your goods is essential. It will help you to identify duty rates and any possible restrictions. Click here to search for your commodity code.


10.  Import License

Do you require an import license? Certain goods imported from China to the UK need a license.


11.  Duties and Tax

VAT is chargeable on goods imported from outside the E.U. including China. However, the rate of VAT remains the same as similar UK products/services. Import duty is dependent on the origin of the goods and their classifications.


There is a lot to take into consideration when importing from China to the UK. Thankfully, Cargocost have 40 years experience in the shipping process and are here to help. We handle all the documentation and customs clearance, saving you the time and hassle. We work with you and are able to assist on the majority of points listed above.


importing from China


What is a Commodity Inspection?

In certain districts of China manufacturers are required to register under the export license scheme. Those manufacturers who do not qualify for this scheme would be subject to a specific commodity inspection and export license fee per shipment. 

Goods inspected: Typical examples of cargo that would require inspection are medical instruments and some clothing. 


Contact us today to enquire…even if it is just for a comparison. Or use our INSTANT online shipping quotation tool.


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