The United States and China are the biggest economies in the world. Since China is “the world’s factory,” it is not a surprise that China is the US’s largest goods trading partner. The US imports goods valued at over $540 bn from China, which stands for 19% of all its imports. Since there is a demand for Chinese goods, how to import from China to the US?
Import from China to the US
Top imports from China to the US
The top US import categories from China are:
- Electrical machinery and equipment and its parts ($125 bn)
- Machinery, mechanical appliances, nuclear reactors, boilers, and their parts ($115 bn)
- Toys, games, and sports requisites; parts and accessories ($40 bn)
- Furniture: bedding, mattresses, mattress supports, cushions, and similar stuffed furnishings ($31 bn).
The most popular products imported from China to the US are:
- Automatic data-processing machines and units thereof (laptops, PC, and so on)
- Telephone, smartphones
- Tricycles, scooters, pedal cars, and similar wheeled toys
- Video game consoles and machines, articles for funfair, table, or parlor games.
Shipping goods from China to the US
China goods can be shipped to the US by air or by sea. Freight rates, the price you pay for shipping, are determined by the type of cargo, the mode of transportation, the dimensional weight, the distance, etc.
Sea freight from China to the US
Sea freight is a method of transporting goods using cargo ships. It is the most cost-efficient way of shipping cargo long distances. You can choose FCL or LCL transportation (Full Container Load or Less than Container Load). Sea shipping makes it easy to maneuver heavy or large products, but it comes with a long transit time (even longer to the East Coast):
- Sea freight FCL China-the US: port to port 14-42 days; door to door 19-47 days
- Sea freight LCL China-the US: port to port 15-43 days; door to door 22-50 days.
There is plenty of shipping lines that transport cargo from China to the US:
Airfreight from China to the US
Some goods are difficult to ship by sea. Perishable and valuable goods in small amounts can be quickly shipped by air (port to port 1-5 days, door to door up to 11 days). The downside is the high freight rates compared to other modes of transportation.
See our article on shipping from China to the US.
How much does it cost to ship goods from China to the US?
Do you have a difficult time choosing a freight forwarder? You can easily compare freight rates from different freight forwarders on ShipHub.co! Get quotes for your shipment and choose the best one for you.
Import from China to the US – customs tariffs
Duty rates imposed on products imported into the US are available on the Harmonized Tariff Schedule website. The HTS code in the schedule that identifies every product group is based on the international Harmonized System. Each HTS code has an assigned customs duty rate. Even though the duty on products from China is indicated in the General Rates of Duty, there is an additional tariff imposed in some cases. They cover around 60% of US imports from China.
Products from top imported categories from China to the US with HTS code and duty rate:
- Keyboards (8471.60.20) – 0%
- Laptops (8471.30.01) – 0%
- Inflatable toy balls, balloons, and punchballs, of rubber for children aged 3-12 (9503.00.00.13) – 0%
- Chess, checkers, parchisi, backgammon, darts, and other games played on boards of a special design, all the foregoing games and parts thereof (9504.90.60) – 0%
- Seats of a kind used for motor vehicles (9401.20.00) – 0%
Import from China to the US – customs clearance
The basic set of documents for customs clearance purposes in the US:
There are some documents needed depending on the type of imported products:
- import licenses
- certificate of origin
- phytosanitary certificates.
Import from China to the US – to sum up
The US trade with China has grown enormously in recent decades. There are mutual benefits to that – the US consumers benefited from the flood of cheaper goods from China, and Chinese manufacturers have access to more consumers and businesses.
- Almost one-fifth of goods imported into the US come from China.
- China’s top exports to the US are electronics, machinery, toys, and furniture.
- You can ship cargo from China to the US by air or sea.
- The basic set of documents needed for import from China is a commercial invoice, packing list, and bill of lading.
- Make sure to stay up to date with the news about the US-China trade war.
See our guides on: