Import from China – The guidebook

Import from China is a long and complicated process. It requires good preparation and familiarization with the reality in China. Many factors make up the whole process. Starting from supplier search and verification for the transport of goods and customs clearance. Each of these stages requires knowledge that is necessary to avoid fraud or additional, unforeseen fees. Unfortunately, we often encounter many frauds against importers. For this reason, we have developed a short guide with the most important information on what to pay special attention to when importing goods from China.

Import from China – where to start?

When planning to start importing, first of all, you should find the supplier of goods. On Alibaba or Made in China websites, you can find many Chinese suppliers, but choosing one can be troublesome. First, verify if the supplier is a reliable source. You have to pay attention to whether it is a trading company or a producer, and most importantly, you have to be orientated in the certification it has on the product you are interested in. The importer’s primary duty is to ensure that the imported product is safe and complies with the standards in force in the European Union. It would be best if you asked the supplier for documentation. It depends on the type of product, but most goods imported from China to the EU must have the CE marking. After receiving the documents, it is necessary to verify them. Unfortunately, very often happens that Chinese contractors forge documents.

As we verify any company from China. You can find out more on our official website.


If you were able to find an agreement with a Chinese partner on the above issues, you should proceed to agree on the transport conditions. Knowledge of the terms of Incoterms 2020 is very important. Frequent problems with the delivery of goods are a result of ignorance of these rules. We described Incoterms 2020 rules on our blog. It is also worth noting that the choice of Incoterms 2020 also depends on the type of transport you choose.

Below is a table that illustrates this:

Mode of transportCIFFOBDDPDAPEXW
Sea transportYesYesYesYesYes
Rail transportYesYesYes
Air transportYesYesYes

When importing from China, you should avoid transport on DDP terms. Chinese often misinterpret this rule. The Chinese side may claim that they will pay VAT and customs duty on the importer, but in fact, they have no such possibility. In the case of customs control, the importer must cover these costs.

Import of goods from China – what else should you remember?

Import from China requires customs clearance and payment of customs duties. It is very important to know the customs rates for the product we are interested in. You can plan whether it pays off to import the goods or in what quantities you should import products so that the transaction is profitable. The TARIC systems are used to check customs duties. What is more, you can also check whether there are any restrictions imposed on the product. Providing HS code on customs documents or commercial invoice can significantly speed up the entire border control procedure.

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