As one of the world’s biggest economies, China is the world’s largest exporter. The demand to import goods from China to the UK is huge and the China to the UK trade lane is currently the third largest in the UK.
Whether you are new or seasoned importer, the process can be rather intimidating. What is more, in comparison to other countries, the UK has a multitude of rigorous requirements for products.
At Ligentia, we have years of experience handling imports from China into the UK. Better yet, with head offices in the UK and Hong Kong, we have international shipping experts with a deep understanding of what needs to happen to achieve a successful import.
Pre-import Considerations - Documentation
If you’re considering importing from China to the UK, you will need a good understanding of importing documentation, regulation, and labelling requirements among others.
To bring foreign goods into the UK, a number of important documents have to be accounted for. It’s important you familiarise yourself with the documentation you need to import from China and clear customs without any issues.
- Find the relevant Commodity Codes for your items
You must first find the right commodity code for the products you’re importing.
Commodity codes are required to classify your goods so you can:
- complete declarations and other paperwork
- find out if there is any duty or VAT to pay
- check if there are any duty reliefs
Use the UK Government Trade Tariff website to locate these, as well duty and VAT rates.
- Pay the required rate of VAT
VAT must be paid in addition to the total sum of Customs Value (the total cost of products, including any development costs you’ve paid to your supplier and the cost of shipping to the UK) and the Import Duty when importing from China into the UK. The duty you pay will depend entirely on the classification of your goods, as well as how they will be used within the UK.
- Register with the CHIEF system to declare your goods
The Customs Handling of Import and Export Freight (CHIEF) system allows importers, exporters and freight forwarders to input customs information electronically. CHIEF calculates payable duties and taxes, checks automatically for errors and identifies which consignments need examination of goods or documentation, enabling faster entry for low-risk goods.
Your freight forwarder will handle this for you, but if you’re managing this yourself make sure you register with CHIEF and declare the goods.
- Pay any duty required
Most goods imported from China to the UK will be subject to the full rate of Customs duty. This is a tax collected by China’s customs authorities on some, but not all, exports.
Some goods manufactured in China may be subject to anti-dumping measures and could require payment of high additional duties, so be sure to double check.
- Check your goods aren’t banned from being imported from China to the UK or require an import licence
Before you import your goods from China, it is essential to check if your goods are subject to import controls and to get a licence. There are at present three types of controls:
- Bans – where no import is allowed
- Quotas – where the volume of goods is restricted
- Surveillance – where the import of goods is monitored with licences
To find out if you need a licence and to obtain one, visit the Department for International Trade.
Some items currently prohibited from being importing from China include:
- Animal skins / Furs
- Biological substances Category B, UN3373
- Dangerous goods, hazardous or combustible materials
- Firearms, or parts of
- Items that could be used as weapons
- Military equipment
- Precious metals & stones
- Ensure that you hold an Economic Operator Registration Identification (EORI number)
All businesses within the EU are required to have an EORI number when importing commercial cargo from China. This is used by UK Customs to keep a record of imported and exported goods and is needed for a commercial invoice, when submitting an electronic export declaration, and when using the CHIEF system.
Your courier or freight forwarder will need the EORI number as well. Applying for an EORI number is very simple, you can apply online and will receive it within three days.
- Get a Customs Registration (CR) number and Power of Attorney (POA)
When importing from China to the UK, you need to have a CR number and POA for non-document goods (not including personal effects).
Both exporters and importers in China are required to register with customs authorities. This is for the purpose of getting an exporter or importer CR Number which must be detailed on the commercial invoice for clearing customs.
A POA is a letter of authority given by the sender to the freight forwarding company to clear the shipment through customs on their behalf.
The benefits of using a freight forwarder are that you will be advised you on the above thus making shipping from China to UK easy and hassle-free. It is therefore advised that you choose a good and reliable freight forward company, who’s consultancy you can always depend upon.
- Include full details on all the labels and invoices
Ensure that all your item’s labels and invoices include the correct details in full, details of:
- Sender and receiver
- Quantity of your goods
- Value of your goods
- Detailed description of your items
- Your relevant Commodity Codes
Make sure the invoice is typed and don’t make any manual changes.
Whether you’re looking to import from China to the UK for the first-time, or just in search of a better service from your freight forwarder, we’d love to hear from you to discuss how Ligentia can help make your importing journey easy and hassle-free.