Step by step guide for importing any product from china
There are many myths and unfounded fears about doing business in china the resources reference in this article will hopefully help you and /or your company overcome the obstacles and challenges of doing business in china while providing you with a healthy dose about reality about what will take you to succeed in china today. China as we all know is the worlds second largest economy , almost everything in the world is made in china.
There are many things you need to consider about importing from china. Once you have established contact with a supplier, you need to source samples and decide how to pay for them. Most companies will require you to pay by T/T (tele transfer). This is quite easy to do from your bank. It simply means filling out a form and showing some I.D. (This is done to prevent money laundering).The service usually costs you about $35 on top of the amount you are sending. Normally, most companies will require payment in U.S. dollars. The transfer can take about 7 days to arrive at your suppliers bank. Be very careful when a supplier asks for payment by Western Union only. Once you have arranged samples, they usually take around 2-3 weeks to arrive if sent by air. The usual way this is done is either EMS (china’s version of parcel force) or a standard courier. Tracking details are usually given though my experience of EMS is they give the tracking number and you get it delivered before anything shows up on their website! You may get a bill from the courier a few weeks after delivery to you for the import duties. Some parcels are pulled by customs, many are not. Dealing with suppliers in China is very easy and can be very profitable.
Trading in small volumes gives you a chance to test the market by selling the items and seeing what sort of response you get back from customers. Many items that are branded are fake so do research your suppliers thoroughly. As you build up a trading relationship with your suppliers, they will allow you to pay by T/T in advance usually 30% meaning you pay the 30% when you confirm the order and the remainder once the goods arrive with you or your shipping agent/freight forwarder. You can also trade with a L/C (letter of credit).This means that you agree a price with the supplier and go to your bank and tell them you want a L/C for the amount. The bank will then hold the payment in their account and you cannot touch it. The L/C is then sent to your supplier and delivery takes place.
Once you are happy with the goods, you instruct the bank to release the funds to the supplier. If there is a problem with the goods once delivered, you can resolve the matter with the supplier. This sort of problem is better sorted out before delivery and put in writing so both parties understand.
Freight forwarders will deal with all the paperwork for you and arrange delivery to your door. They will give you a price for the service and these are usually very competitive. Having goods delivered by air is usually more expensive but the goods are with you a lot quicker. If you require any more advice please ask and I will try my best to help. Sorry about the long post but I think some readers may value the information.
Below is a summary step by step guide
Find the products you’re interested in. There are many sources to find your products. The internet is the easiest one to start with. There are many web listing services, where, you can register your username, post the products of your interest, and you will receive tons of products supply information and perhaps a price list.
Establish a relationship with potential suppliers. Select a few potential suppliers to communicate with. When contacting suppliers, provide information about your company. The good suppliers already have more business than they can handle – you want to market yourself so that they want to do business with you. When qualifying suppliers, you can ask them how long they’ve been in business, which trade shows they attend, how long they’ve been attending these trade shows and which companies they manufacture for. Check and confirm everything that you can.
Narrow down to the supplier that you really want to work with. Discuss the price and trade relationship. Obtain product samples and review them (and their packaging, instructions, and any other collateral) for quality – you may have to pay a nominal fee. Discuss shipping and payment terms. Gather all necessary information to prepare for placing a trial order. When placing the purchase order, include as many details as you can think of.
Understand trade terms and use them. Before placing any order, you need to understand and confirm with your suppliers about shipment terms. Most popular are “fob” and “cif”, as well as payment terms. These are closely related to your landing cost calculation and risk assessment. You can consult an import management company and a freight forwarder for detail break-down on the costs and risks. You can also use an import management company to negotiate the trade terms.
Understand payment terms. Somewhat common is to pay 30% at time of order, and the remaining 70% when the product ships. The down payment gives the manufacturer/supplier funds necessary to begin production. These terms are negotiable.
As the Importer of record, you (not the supplier) are legally responsible for making sure that goods brought into the country meet all national regulatory requirements. Goods that don’t meet requirements can be stopped at the border or can result in future legal suits. Don’t just take a supplier’s word that requirements are being met. Do your homework on compliance issues and make sure you know requirements are being met. You need to understand the relevant import compliance regulations beforehand. Go to the following Government agencies, sierra Leone customs service, sierra Leone investment and export promotion , sierra Leone chambers of commerce and industry.
Select a forwarder and customs house broker. Go to your local international trade organization/association and customs office to find the list. Visit them, and select the one you like. For the first time importer, use more individualized services, because you need more attention than you would expect.
Sign up with an FX brokerage house such as FC Exchange. When dealing with overseas transactions and international payments, FX brokerages can offer a better rate than your bank, meaning potentially significant savings when importing or exporting.
Place a trial order with a written purchase order if everything goes well. In the purchase order, besides typing out a detailed description of the products, product requirements, packaging requirements, etc., and trade terms, list all needed shipping documents.
Appoint an inspection company to check your goods on site in the factory, and give you a detailed report. It is very helpful to provide the inspection company details about what to check. Without such details, the inspection company may think products are okay even though you won’t. You may also consider having inspections done of components that are going into assembly early in the process. This can help avoid last minute quality problems.
This is usually done a few days before the expected shipment, so you can address any issues that would be raised. This will allow you to avoid receiving defective or non-conforming goods.
Track the transportation and customs clearance. Your forwarder and customs broker should take care of your transportation and customs clearance. However, you also need to track the process and assistance, such as providing additional products information and endorsing bill of landing. You need to issue a power of attorney to your broker and purchase customs bond for your importation.
Receive the products and keep the records. Now you can go to your next step to sell your products and make profit.
Do not order counterfeit or branded products, unless the supplier can prove they are an authorized reseller. You can contact the brand owner to confirm the supplier is an authorized reseller.
Sample of goods you can import from China.
Mobile phones and accessories
* Computers, Laptops etc
* Garden Centre
* Christmas & Festive Products
* Party – Hobbies – Craftwork
* Re-useble bags & Giftware
* Glassware & Ceramics
* Hotel Amenities & Supplies
* Camping & Outdoors
* Power Tools, DIY & Security
* Dental & Podiatry Supplies
* Machined Metal & Plastic
* Galvanized Wire – Slates – Plywood
* Sport & fitness
* Home & Pet
* Bathroom Kitchen & Tiles
* Fashion Clothing & Footwear
* Spectacles & Optics
* Furniture & Flooring
* Stationery; Printing; Publishing
* Packaging Material & Equip
* Bikes Quads Scooters & Karts
* Auto Parts & Accessories
* Electrical Appliances
* Electronic appliances( TV, Radio, DVD, sound systems etc)
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John F Fowler .MCIM, is an International marketing and business consultant, Motivational/Empowerment speaker and Author. He is currently the founder and president of Trinity Empowerment Center a non governmental organization with a vision to empower youths in starting and sustaining small businesses in developing countries. for comments or questions send email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or email@example.com.