Buyer’s Guide: Shipping, Taxes and Customs (USA)

Bonus Features

Online Advisor

Get access to expert advice and support with your own online advisor. We answer within 48 hours.

Document Templates

Get access to a set of ready made document templates:

  • Sales Agreement Template
  • Sample Order Template
  • NDA Template
  • Quotation Request Template
  • Email Templates

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How Will The Shipping Buyer’s Guide Help Me?

  • Shipping Procedures Explained: We give you the “what” before we show you the “how”. Understand what Incoterms mean for you, the difference between FCL and LCL, container volumes, freight documents, packaging, insurance and much more. The Shipping Guide provides a quick and clear explanation of what you need to know about shipping products from China.
  • Minimize Shipping Costs: Freight costs are one of the main challenges to businesses importing from China. You can save hundreds of Dollars by understanding how shipping costs are broken down. We show you practical, tested methods to keep freight costs as low as possible.
  • The Inside Story On Licenses, Permits & Shipping Restrictions: Do you understand all the regulations governing wooden packaging, shipping batteries and mandatory import licenses? If not, that’s ok. We clarify all the relevant import licences, permits and restrictions so that your business stays on the right side of shipping governance.
  • Understanding Import Duties, Taxes & Fees: When you import products from Asia your goods are liable for import duties as well as taxes and other charges. We show you the easiest way of calculating and paying what import duties taxes and fees you’re liable for so you can ensure your shipments are quick and compliant.
  • Step-By-Step Guide: The shipping and customs process is complicated and confusing. This type of complication means time away from doing what you do best. Our step-by-step guide makes the shipping process clear and easy. We break everything down into a series of simple, manageable tasks, explaining exactly what you need to do at every stage. We show you what you need to do before, during and after your cargo is shipped, freeing you up to focus on your business.
  • How to Ship Product Samples Via Air Freight: Even though most of your cargo will be shipped by sea, Air Freight is still a valuable resource for high value consignments like product samples and documents. We explain how and when you can benefit from Air Freight by getting small but vital shipments quickly.
  • Finding Freight Forwarder And Avoiding Scams: The Shipping Buyer’s Guide includes contact details for a list of recommended freight forwarders. These are trustworthy companies that will help you get your products where they need to be. We also give you some advice that will help you avoid unqualified freight forwarders and common shipping scams.
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  • Buyer’s Guide

  • Online Advisor

  • Document Templates

  • Discount Coupons

PDF Download Only

‘Best Value’

Consulting Included

After placing your order, you can download your Buyer’s Guide directly from the ‘My Account’ page. Just login using the username and password you chose in the checkout.
Buyer’s Guide: Shipping, Taxes and Customs
Chapter 1. Shipping Overview
  • Incoterms: Common Incoterms, comparison table, pricing and recommendations
  • FCL and LCL: Comparison and recommendations
  • Containers: Types and volumes, ordering by container volume, Container tracking
  • Shipping Costs: Primary and secondary costs, examples of costs (April 2016), estimating shipping costs, reducing shipping costs
  • Freight Documents: Bill of lading, commercial invoice, packing list, arrival notice, country of origin certificate, compliance documents
  • Restrictions and Regulations: Permits and licenses, wooden packaging materials, batteries and battery operated products
  • Export Packaging: Common cargo transportation damages, packaging materials, samples, freight remarks, pallets
  • Insurance: Cost, filing a claim
  • Common Frauds: How, the scammers exploit the bill of lading, how buyers are being scammed by freight forwarders, the help offered by local port and customs authorities, what sort of entities are behind these scams, how you can protect yourself from shipping scams
  • Air Freight: Product samples and documents, air cargo, cost calculation, air freight companies
Chapter 2. Import Duties, Taxes & Customs Procedures
  • Customs Value: Unit cost, insurance cost, freight cost (to Port of Destination), tooling costs, paid product samples and paid services (i.e., design services paid to the supplier)
  • Customs Duties
  • Product Classification
  • Other Taxes & Fees
  • Anti-Dumping Duties
  • Case Study: Customs & Tax Calculation
Chapter 3. Shipping and Customs Checklist
  • Introduction
  • Process Guide
Chapter 4. Contact Details
  • Relevant Authorities
  • Freight Forwarders
What Our Customers Say
United Kingdom United Kingdom

“We have worked with Chinaimportal for several years now. The team helped us to source and audit our suppliers, set up secure, fair and lasting contracts as well as handled all the logistics around our import needs. In short, a highly professional partner when it comes to importing from China.”
Kevin Ackermann,Director,
BACA Limited

United States United States

“I worked with Chinaimportal to assist me in the sourcing and auditing process for my first order from China. I was first exposed to Chinaimportal through the excellent information they put on their blog regarding the product sourcing and development process. I am excited about growing my eCommerce business and I plan to use Chinaimportal for my future sourcing efforts.”
Davidson Hepburn,Managing Director,
Gold Tiger Holdings

Sweden Sweden

“We have avoided serious supplier related risks, and been guided through each step of the procurements process. Thanks to this, we, as jewelry designers, can focus on what we do best: working on new designs and getting them out on the market.”
Robert Carlsson, Co-Founder,
RJ Design AB, Sweden

Who Is This For?

Online Sellers

Our Buyer’s Guides are used by Amazon sellers, Ebay traders and online stores from all around the World.


It’s easier than ever to get your custom designed products manufactured in Asia with our Buyer’s Guides.

Procurement Professionals

Make sure you stay at the top of your game with efficient and up to date sourcing, compliance and due diligence procedures.
Frequently Asked Questions
About the Buyer’s Guide
How is the Buyer’s Guide delivered?

After your order is placed, you can download the Buyer’s Guide directly from the ‘My Account’ section on You only need to login using the username and password you selected in the checkout.

Will we receive future Buyer’s Guide updates free of charge?

Yes, free updates are included for 1 year (365 days), from the date of your purchase. For example, if you order a Buyer’s Guide on April 5 2016, you will get free access to all updated versions made until April 4 2017.

How can we access updated versions of the Buyer’s Guide?

The Digital Download link, in your ‘My Account’ section, is automatically updated each time we make a revision to a Buyer’s Guide.

Do you offer a money back guarantee or refunds?

Yes, but only if both of the following two conditions apply:

1. The customer has not downloaded the Buyer’s Guide from the ‘My Account’ page
2. The customer requests a refund within 14 days from the purchase date

If the Buyer’s Guide, or any of the other included files, has been downloaded, we don’t offer a refund.

What if we are not satisfied with the Buyer’s Guide?

If you are not satisfied, we are very interested in your feedback. We are continuously working to improve our Buyer’s Guides, and add content or implement changes, based on feedback from our customers.

What kind of customers are you working with?

Most of our customers are small to medium sized businesses, based in Europe, USA and the Asia Pacific region. However, we are also working with startups and small businesses in Latin America, the Middle East and Africa.

Do you have any customer references?

Yes, click here for customer references.

What is the regulatory scope of this Buyer’s Guide?

This Buyer’s Guide only covers Federal U.S. regulations. You must be aware that additional regulations, that are not covered by this document, may apply on a single state level (for instance only in California or Florida).

Shall I contact local authorities?

After reading this guide, we strongly advise you to contact local authorities. At the end of the Buyer’s Guide, you will find contact details to relevant authorities.

What is Chinaimportal’s liability?

We do not offer insurance, or any other form of compensation, in case of loss, damage, injury or death resulting, as a result of this Buyer’s Guide incorrect, erroneous, misleading, ambiguous, incomplete, outdated or modified.

Regulations are subject to change, and it is within the limits of reason to assume that we may have misinterpreted one or more of the regulations, and processes, described in the Buyer’s Guide.

Online Advisor
What is it?

When you order a Buyer’s Guide Package, we provide you with online support through the Ticket system on We can answer your questions related to:

  • Supplier Sourcing
  • Fraud Prevention
  • Product Development
  • Shipping, Customs & Duties
  • Product Certification, Labelling & Testing
Why is the Online Advisor service bundled together with the Buyer’s Guide?

We know that you need questions answered, and guidance throughout the buying process. As such, the Online Advisor offers personal assistance, while the Buyer’s Guide provide a written roadmap.

How can we access the Online Advisor service?

Go to the My Account page, login using the email address and password you set in the checkout and submit a support ticket. You can submit as many questions as you want, and we normally get back to you within 48 hours. Once we have responded, you will receive an email notification.

How much can I use the Online Advisor system?

The number of tickets you can use depends on which Buyer’s Guide package you purchased:

  • Basic: Not included (0 tickets)
  • Startup: 1 ticket
  • Premium: 6 tickets
How do you define ‘1 ticket’?

A single ticket is defined as one or several questions, related to a specific topic. For example, you may send several questions related to the same topic, within one ticket. However, unrelated questions or other requests requires that you open a second ticket.

That being said, we are flexible, but must limit the usage to deliver a quality service for a reasonable price.

For how long are the tickets valid?

The tickets are valid for 1 year (i.e., 365 days), from the date of purchase. For example, if you order your Buyer’s Guide on 2017-03-01, you must use all your tickets on or before 2018-03-01. Tickets that are not used after this point will automatically expire.

Can we buy more tickets after we run out?

Yes. Please Contact us for pricing and more information.

What kind of guidance on product regulations can you offer?

We can provide general guidance on safety standards and labeling requirements in the European Union and the United States. However, we offer no guarantee that the information we provide is accurate.

When possible, we share the information we have, which in most cases can guide the customer in the right direction. That said, we do not engage in extensive research, or the practical steps of the product compliance procedures.

Extra Features
Can you help us with Quality Inspections?

Yes. When you order a Buyer’s Guide, we also include an introduction to a leading quality inspection agency, and a US$50 discount on your first quality inspection. A coupon, also listing step by step instructions to get started, is available for download in the ‘My Account‘ area, after your purchase.

Can you help us with Freight Forwarding?

Yes. When you order a Buyer’s Guide, we also include an introduction to a leading freight forwarder, and a US$50 discount on your first shipment. A coupon, also listing step by step instructions to get started, is available for download in the ‘My Account‘ area, after your purchase.

What kind of Document Templates are included?
  • Sales Agreement Template;
  • NDA (Non Disclosure Agreement) Template;
  • RFQ (Request for Quotation) Template;
  • Sample Order Sheet & Terms Template;
  • E-mail Templates.
Payment Methods
Can I pay with my Visa or MasterCard?

Yes, we offer credit card payments through PayPal or Stripe. Customers based in certain countries may be required to create a PayPal account in order to make a Credit Card transaction. This is free and only takes a moment. You just need to add your email address and agree with Paypal Terms of Service. With Stripe, you don’t need an account.

Can I pay with PayPal?

Yes, you can pay with your balance, bank account or credit card through PayPal.

Do you offer a safe payment method?

Yes, all payments are processed by PayPal, which uses an SSL certificate to encrypt your data.

Will I receive an invoice for my company?

Yes, it’s delivered together with the payment confirmation email.

VAT (United Kingdom & EU Customer Only)
My company is based in the United Kingdom, do you charge VAT? is owned and operated by Asiaimportal Limited, based in London, United Kingdom. We don’t charge VAT on orders from UK businesses, as of today. However, your company must be registered for VAT and you must enter your VAT number during the checkout in order to buy a Buyer’s Guide.

My company is based in the European Union (excluding UK), do you charge VAT?

No, at the moment we don’t charge VAT. However, if you are resident in a country belonging to the European Union, you must be registered for VAT and enter your VAT number during the checkout in order to buy a Buyer’s Guide.

Terms of Service and Privacy Policy
Where can I find your Terms of Service?

Follow this link to read our Terms of Service.

Where can I find your Privacy Policy?

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