How To Import Goods From China To The USA
When it comes to the importation of goods into the United States, China is no doubt a top destination for most importers in the US.
As a matter of fact, China contributes 18% to the overall imports into the United States, which totaled over $437 billion in 2020 alone.
China is currently termed “the factory of the world.” This is because there’s almost nothing that’s not produced in China. Moreso, lots of the big companies in the United States have their factories situated in China.
As an importer, China goods can earn you good profits because they are cheaper and you have different varieties to choose from. Plus, China is the global market for manufactured goods. Hence, there are lots of manufacturers or suppliers you can choose to get your goods from.
In this article, I’m going to walk you through the process and procedures involved in importing goods from China into the United States.
1. Choose Products To Import
The very first thing you need to know are the things you want to import. China is known to produce a variety of products ranging from gadgets, tools, machines, clothing, etc.
So what’s left to you is to choose products you want to bring into the United States.
To do that, you have to compare availability, price, quality, and profitability. You can go on different Chinese online stores like AliExpress, Alibaba, or Wish to check different goods you wish to import.
For pricing, checking the amount each unit is sold for is necessary as it will help you balance your budget with the available goods.
Also, quality, as we all know, is very important. As such, you should endeavor to make sure what you are bringing is quality; the quality matters as much as the pricing.
Additionally, as a person in business, you are importing goods to make profits. You should have to research and analyze the amount you will make if you bring in a particular good. Some goods will earn you big profits, while others will earn you little profit. So it’s left for you to analyze well before you make orders.
Another thing any importer into the United States must consider is checking the United States’ import guidelines and laws.
This is to ensure that what you are importing is legal and acceptable in the United States. In all honesty, this should be done as you are picking the goods to import from China.
Lastly, demand should be checked, which is why it’s pertinent for you to also conduct a market survey before you decide which goods to buy.
2. Choose Your Merchant
Next is to select a Chinese merchant that exports your products. You can do this through online research or by researching through the Chinese embassy in the United States.
Also, it would be more appropriate if you could go to China and do research or get Chinese export data in order to choose your merchants.
Once you’re able to get a list and contact information for at least 10 different merchants that export your products, you can now contact them and begin negotiations with each of them. You can reach them through different media, like fax, emails, WhatsApp or any of the other social media platforms.
Furthermore, when you start talking with each of them, Ask them questions about their products and the prices of each of the goods you want to import.
Before you choose your merchant, make investigations about their licenses, product quality, and also customer reviews.
Now choose your supplier or suppliers and bargain with them.
3. Order Your Goods
Having communicated and negotiated with your chosen merchants, you can now place an order for your goods.
It’s best that you fly to China, being that this is the first time you are dealing with this particular supplier.
This will help establish trust and connections. Plus, you will be able to check how things are being run by the supplier and the quality of the goods you are getting from him. Hence, a relationship and trust can be established with the said supplier.
To travel into China to see your supplier, just get a business visa. Also get an invitation letter from the supplier, and a United States’ Passport. All these will make it easier for you to travel into China.
Negotiation can also come into play. Next time you won’t need to come down again to get your goods directly from China, as you can make everything possible without having to leave the United States.
Ordering your goods and paying for them is the next step you have to take while you arrange how to ship them to the United States.
4. Get Your Documents Ready
Before you pay for your goods, you need to get all your licenses and permits ready.
It is advisable that you hire a customs broker to help you with the requirements and the processes. The broker will explain all you need to do and the documents you need to prepare.
Once you’ve gotten information about what you’ll need to make your importation smooth, Next is to get those documents by applying through different channels. You can find information on these on the United States Customs website.
The broker will help you communicate and get everything done once you are able to submit those documents to him.
N/A: After you’ve gotten all your licenses and permits. At least 24 hours before your product starts coming through the sea, you need to file an Import Security Filing (ISF).
5. Arrange For shipment
After making sure that your import license and other valid documents are at your disposal, The next decision you should make is making shipping arrangements.
You can get in touch with shipping companies like FedEx, UPS, or DHL so that your goods can move faster. Though expensive, services by these three companies are among the fastest.
Sea freight is calculated based on the weight of goods. So if you are carrying heavy goods, you pay more even if if its not too costly.
On the other hand, you can also ask your supplier in China to make shipping arrangements for you. But, this might actually cost you more, plus you won’t be in charge of your shipment to know how far it has traveled until it reaches the United States.
6. Custom Clearance
This is a very critical part of the importation business. Once your goods reach the entry ports. The US Customs are waiting for you to clear your imports before they release them. You will be asked to provide the necessary documents, which will include the list of goods, receipt, exporter’s name, your own name, and other details.
You will also be charged some customs duties before they release it. If you are unable to provide these things, your goods will not only be seized; they can be burned, destroyed, or put up for auction. And if your papers are incomplete, you might be charged high fees before your goods are released.
Although you don’t really need to get an import license before you can bring goods from China into the United States. You can bring in goods without an import license by getting a customs and border protection (CBP) clearance. And for you to get this, you might have to pass through certain evaluations and examinations and meet different demands.
You don’t have to get intimidated by these things; they only get stressful like this if it’s your first time importing from China. The next time will be much easier because by then you will already have your licenses and different permits.
7. Pick Your Goods At The Ports
After the customs have cleared you and your goods, The next step is to move it to its final location. But first, you will have to hire professional parkers and offloaders to bring them out of the ship and keep them safe till your logistics arrive.
Once your logistics or truck arrives, they will help you park it. Then you can now transport them into your warehouse or store. If they are raw materials, you can now process them into finished goods and put them up for sale.
Shipping in goods from China is relatively easy compared to other countries because of the business relationship between China and the United States.
If it’s your first time doing so, it’s a very long and stressful process. Of course, traveling through China, obtaining different documents, and paying different duties should be stressful and expensive at that.
However, if you don’t want to go through all these hassles, there are agencies in place that are there to get all that done for you, as much as you can afford it. Though it might cost you a certain percentage of your profit, they are hassle-free.
Also, if you are ordering smaller goods, you can make use of online stores like Wish or AliExpress. They will handle everything and make sure your goods get to you.