How to import goods from China to U.S.A.

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How to import goods from China to U.S.A.
china (Goodshoot/Goodshoot/Getty Images)

Free trade agreements between America and China have simplified importing. Express delivery services (e.g., UPS, DHL and FedEx) have major distribution hubs across China, with guaranteed 24 hour next-day delivery between major cities in China and America. Customs requirements remain stringent on some good from China; but even small business owners and individuals can do business directly with Chinese businesses. Read on to learn more.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Start importing goods from China by finding the best distributor; dealing directly with a factory is incredibly difficult even for Chinese speakers. A broker or agent will call around for the best possible price. Based upon the size of the order, brokers and manufacturer's agents can get a decent discount on the price.

  2. 2

    Try online marketplaces such as China's giant Alibaba is a giant collection of small to large businesses offering every product imaginable. Many of these "businesses" are resellers. They act as brokers with the manufacturers and distributors and will undercut anyone to get a deal. Alibaba is the best place to find what's for sale in China.

  3. 3

    Deal directly with a reputable agent. Shipping through Chinese customs requires a skilled professional shipping agent. The agent must be licensed with the Chinese government in order to ship overseas. All goods must have several official documents accompanying them through the customs clearance process.

  4. 4

    Learn the American regulations for importation. Textiles are a very difficult item to import from China due to the overproduction in China and the U.S. government's attempts to protect the American textile industry. The Chinese government has classified painted silk scarves as works of art to allow for greater export into America.

  5. 5

    Import a small amount of goods for personal use and pay a minimal amount of customs duty. Don't try to import large shipments on a regular basis and claim them as gifts to avoid paying duties. The amount of import duty is paid at time of delivery, or arranged for at time of shipment if shipping with an expedited express shipping agent such as UPS.

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