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Where can I learn about taxes and duties I'll have to pay on imports from China?

Posted: 2012-02-27

Full Question

Where can I go to find out about import tax and duties so that when I purchase from China I will be able to obtain an overall cost analysis with all taxes and product prices combined.


You are wise to be thinking about import duties and taxes.

Too many new-to-China buyers focus only on product price and then get an ugly surprise when they learn there are applicable taxes, which they didn't plan for in the budget.

Another mistake is to ask the supplier in China to confirm the taxes and duties in the destination market. Suppliers may not be knowledgeable about how your government would classify the given product and what taxes apply, let alone current cost of transport.

So I find it best to ask an expert. Because the regulations and taxes can change on short notice, you would be wise to develop a working relationship with a freight forwarder or customs broker based at your local port, who has experience dealing with China imports.

They also go by the name "3PL" for 3rd party logistics service providers. These companies are the experts in this area and they make a living arranging shipments. A big part of their job is to stay current on the import taxes and duties. Not only can they quote on the costs of moving your goods, but they can also confirm if there are any import taxes or duties.

Read the answer to "What's the best way to find freight forwarders in China?" on our Ask the Experts page to learn how to find a quality a 3PL.

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