Importing heat pumps from China to the US

A heat pump is an electrically driven device that extracts heat from a low-temperature area and delivers it to a higher-temperature area. Its popularity has grown since it is more environmentally friendly than similar devices. Heat pumps find not only residential application but also in food & beverage, paper & pulp, chemical, automotive, and other industries. The largest heat pump exporter is China. This article introduces importing heat pumps from China to the US.

Importing heat pumps from China to the US

The heat pump is a module of an air conditioner. There are several types of heat pumps on the market:

  • ground-source heat pump (GSHP) – the thermal energy is drawn from the soil or groundwater
  • air source heat pump (ASHP) – the thermal energy source is air from the outside
  • water source heat pump (WSHP) – the thermal energy is drawn from a body of water
  • exhaust air heat pump (EAHP) – the thermal energy is extracted from the building exhaust air (requires mechanical ventilation)
  • hybrid heat pump – the thermal energy is drawn from different sources.

The purpose of the heat pump is to cool or heat buildings, vehicles, and appliances such as refrigerators and freezers. In China, air source heat pumps have the largest share (9 out of 10 heat pumps are the ASHP type).

Recently, the demand for heat pumps has risen, as has the export of heat pumps from China.

Export of heat pumps from China in 2013-2021
Export of heat pumps from China in 2013-2021, data: Intelligence Research Group, China Customs

Heat pump manufacturers in China

Finding a trustworthy supplier is essential for import business. The biggest heat pump parts manufacturing clusters are in Zhejiang and Jiangsu Provinces. Manufacturers of complete heat pumps are located in Guangdong (Guangzhou, Foshan, Shenzhen, Zhongshan), Zhejiang (Jiaxing), and Shandong (Jinan, Dezhou) Provinces.

Check the areas on the map below:

Importing heat pumps from China to the US China map

Importing heat pumps from China to the US – tariffs

Every importer is obliged to pay customs duty on imported goods. The Harmonized Tariff Schedule System of the US contains current tariffs. Read the official guide if it is your first time navigating the HTSUS.

The duty on heat pumps in the US is:

  • parts of heat pumps (8415.90.8065): 1.4% + 7.5% (additional China Tariff)
  • heat pumps other than air conditioning machines of heading 8415 (8418.61.0100): 0% + 25%.

Importing heat pumps from China to the US – requirements

Only when the product meets the essential legal requirements can it be placed on the market. Importers have to make sure that their product is compliant with the relevant regulations. It may concern recyclability, energy consumption, assessment of the impact on the environment and consumer safety.

UL (Underwriters Laboratories) is one of several companies approved to perform safety testing by the US federal agency. UL 1995/CSA C22.2 No. 236 is a harmonized standard for Canada and the United States for heating and cooling equipment. It covers equipment such as:

  • heat pumps, for heating and cooling with or without factory, or field-installed electric resistance heaters, or hot water or steam heating coils
  • air conditioners for cooling with or without factory, or field-installed electric resistance heaters, or hot water or steam heating coils
  • liquid chillers and compressor-evaporator or liquid chiller assemblies intended for use with remote condensers
  • add-on heat pumps for comfort heating or heating and cooling
  • heat pump water heaters and refrigerant desuperheaters, and packaged heat pump water heaters consisting of a heat pump water heater and an associated storage tank.

Heat pumps trade fairs in China

In China, face-to-face contact is preferred, so consider taking part in trade fairs if you want to get the best offer from suppliers. There are many benefits of attending a trade fair in China, from staying up to date in the industry to networking.

Some of the heat pump trade fairs in China:

Canton Fair Phase 1 – China Export and Import Fair

Venue: Canton Fair Complex, Kanton

Website: cantonfair.org.cn

Canton Fair is the oldest and largest trade fair in China. It is held biannually in spring and fall. The first phase of the Canton Fair focuses on electrical and electronic equipment, vehicles, and machinery, including heat pumps.

China Guangzhou International Electric Heating Exhibition

Venue: Canton Fair Complex, Guangzhou

Website: gehe.cn/index.php?lang=en

China Guangzhou International Electric Heating Exhibition (GEHE) focuses on electric heating devices and equipment.

Central China (Zhengzhou) International Equipment Manufacturing Exposition (CCEME)

Venue: Zhengzhou International Convention and Exhibition Centre (ZZICEC), Zhengzhou

Website: ccieme.com.cn/en-us/index.aspx

Central China (Zhengzhou) International Equipment Manufacturing Exposition is the largest machinery fair in central China.

ISH China & CIHE (China International Trade Fair for Heating, Ventilation, Air-Conditioning, Sanitation & Home Comfort Systems)

Venue: New China International Exhibition Center, Beijing

Website: ishc-cihe.hk.messefrankfurt.com/beijing/en.html

If you are looking for green solutions in heating and ventilation, visit ISH China & CIHE.

Importing heat pumps from China to the US – to sum up

  • There is a growing demand for heat pumps.
  • 9 out of 10 heat pumps from China are air source heat pumps.
  • The largest concentration of producers of complete heat pumps in China is Guangdong, Zhejiang, and Shandong Provinces.
  • The duty rate on heat pumps is low, but an additional China tariff is imposed.
  • Products must meet the essential legal requirements existing in the target market.
  • Taking part in trade shows in China is very beneficial for import business.

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Check out our articles on import.

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