Customs & Taxes When Importing from China: US, EU, Australia & Canada

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Understanding import duties, customs fees, VAT and other taxes is crucial when importing products from China, especially in a time when trade tensions are at an all-time high. However, each country or market have their own customs duty rates and tax calculation methods.

In this article, we explain what every Importer must know about custom & taxes when importing products to the following countries and regions.

US-China Tariffs: How They Hit Importers & Amazon Sellers

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US-China Trade War

Like many others, I assumed the US-China trade war would be a short affair. I envisioned some deal involving mutual trade concessions taking place in a matter of weeks.

How wrong I was.

Now we are facing the prospect of a decade-long trade war, that will possibly mark the end of an era. Given that the United States is our main market, in terms of users, the trade war has a severe impact on our business too.

I’m not here to discuss which side is morally right or wrong. But I do have an obligation to share my views of how the US-China trade war may impact small businesses in the US, importing from China.

  • Why the trade war could massively benefit Chinese sellers
  • Which products are affected by the new tariffs?
  • Which products are not affected by the new tariffs?
  • What does this mean for US importers?
  • Will China or the US win the trade war?

The trade war also comes with some unintended consequences, that have the potential to backfire massively. Continue reading US-China Tariffs: How They Hit Importers & Amazon Sellers

Trading Companies in China: A Complete Guide

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Trading Company

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Everyone wants to stay away from Trading Companies and go directly to factories when buying from China. That said, it’s not always clear when the trading ends and the manufacturing begins. In this article, I aim to explain what a trading company is, and how they differ from manufacturers.

Further, I also cover the different types of trading companies, some of which are good and some of which are less so. Continue reading Trading Companies in China: A Complete Guide

List of Product Testing Labs in China: An Overview

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accredited laboratories

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Lab testing is the only way to verify that your imported product is compliant with all applicable safety standards and substance regulations. However, not all test reports are equal, as only those issued by accredited testing companies are actually valid.

For example, the CPSC in the United States lists testing labs around the world that are accredited, meaning that they only accept test reports issued by the listed companies.

In this article, we list some of the world’s leading testing labs in Mainland China and Hong Kong:

  • QIMA (Formerly Asiainspection)
  • CMA Testing
  • SGS
  • TUV
  • Bureau Veritas
  • Intertek

In addition, you’ll also get these questions answered:

  • Why do I neeed an accredited testing laboratory to check my products?
  • FCC Accredited Labs in Asia
  • FDA (USA) Accredited Labs in Asia

Continue reading List of Product Testing Labs in China: An Overview

Factory Inspections & Audits in China: A Complete Guide

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factory inspection

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Found a supplier online but not sure if they’re everything they claim to be? Factory inspections, which can easily be booked online, can quickly put boots on the ground and verify what’s actually going on behind the factory gates.

In this article, you will learn everything importers and Amazon sellers should know about factory inspections:

  • What is a factory inspection?
  • What is not covered in a factory inspection?
  • How can a factory inspection or audit help my business?
  • At what stage should we book a factory audit?
  • How much does a factory audit cost?
  • Can we visit the factory ourselves?
  • How long in advance do we need to book the inspection?
  • What is the difference between a quality inspection and a factory inspection?
  • Should we always book a factory inspection before deciding on a supplier?
Bonus Content
  • List of Factory Audit Companies
  • Factory Inspection Sample Report (PDF)

Continue reading Factory Inspections & Audits in China: A Complete Guide

Canton Fair 2019: The Ultimate Guide

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The Canton Fair is the longest running and the largest trade show in China. Think of it as the ‘offline version’ of Alibaba.com, and you’re getting close. In this guide, you will learn everything importers must know about the Canton Fair:

  • Why should I visit the Canton Fair?
  • Canton Fair Products and Phases
  • Canton Fair Dates 2019
  • Traveling to the Canton Fair
  • Visitor Registration
  • Visa Requirements
  • How to get an invitation letter

As a bonus, I also explain how to prepare and attend the Canton Fair, and manage follow-ups.

  • Why you must prepare a product specification before your visit
  • The questions you must ask each supplier at the trade show
  • How to follow-up with the suppliers after the trade show

Continue reading Canton Fair 2019: The Ultimate Guide

Minimum Order Quantity (MOQ) – Why It’s Required by Chinese Suppliers

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The Minimum Order Quantity (MOQ) requirement specifies the lowest quantity of a certain product that a supplier is willing to sell. If the importer cannot reach the MOQ requirement, then the supplier is not willing to enter production.

Suppliers in China and other low-cost manufacturing countries tend to have fairly high quantity requirements. In this article, I explain why so is the case and what you can do to reduce the MOQ requirement.

1. Low-profit margins require larger volumes

Most Chinese manufacturers tend to operate on razor-thin profit margins. Often as low as 3 to 4%. Low-profit margins require the supplier to produce a large number of products in order to break even. Continue reading Minimum Order Quantity (MOQ) – Why It’s Required by Chinese Suppliers

How to Find a Design Freelancer for Your Customized Products

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design freelancer

In the age of Amazon brands, Aliexpress and Wish, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to succeed with generic private label products. Creating unique, custom designed, products is the only way forward for smaller E-commerce businesses that can’t compete on price alone.

Yet, while many E-commerce businesses have great ideas for custom designed products they want to bring to market, they lack the in-house design expertise, or budget, to turn their visions into practical 3D design files and technical drawings.

But, as I explain in this article, the creation of a custom-designed product is not nearly as complex or difficult as you might think.

Keep reading, and learn how our customers have used Upwork.com to find amazing freelancers, turning their concepts into technical drawings and CAD files for as little as $100.

1. Prepare a ‘Design Concept’ PDF

Product designers are not psychics with mind reading abilities. They need clear instructions in order to turn your product and design ideas into drawings that make sense to a manufacturer.

As such, the first step of the process is to define those ideas the form of text and basic drawings.

If I want to create a wristwatch design, for example, I should prepare the following material in a PDF file:

  • Watch case sketch (various angles)
  • Indexing sketch
  • Crown sketch
  • Hands sketch
  • Strap sketch

In addition, I’d also specify the following:

  • Colors
  • Logos / Engravings

There’s no right or wrong when it comes to communicating your ‘design vision’ to a freelancer, as long as it’s done in a way that they can easily understand. Use photos of similar brands edited in photoshop, or a rough napkin drawing – what matters is that you don’t leave the designer guessing what you want.

Finally, you must also set a clear deliverable for your future freelancer. If we stick to the wristwatch example, I’d request the following:

  • Watch case design (AutoCAD)
  • Strap design
  • Logo file
  • Backplate engraving file

The more specific you are, the faster your designer can turn the project around. Continue reading How to Find a Design Freelancer for Your Customized Products

[New] Starter Package: Upload & Share Files With Suppliers

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We have added a function to the Starter Package Dashboard that enables our users to upload files and share them directly with team members and suppliers. For example, you and upload, store and share:

1. Product specification files

2. Product images

3. Design drawings

4. Logo files and packaging files

5. Contracts

6. Quotations

7. Test reports, certificates and quality check reports

8. Shipping documents

This is available as of now for all Starter Package users. Continue reading [New] Starter Package: Upload & Share Files With Suppliers

Chinese New Year 2019: How Importers Can Prevent Disaster

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The Chinese New Year (CNY) of 2019 starts on Tuesday, February 5th, and lasts officially for 7 days. While many of us who work in Asia are painfully aware of the Chinese New Year, and the coming disruption to all production, many Importers are caught completely off guard.

As if the rush to get your shipments in time for Christmas is not enough, you now have to make sure that your goods are ready well before your supplier close the shop for CNY 2019. During this holiday, all factories are shut down. Without exception.

While the official holiday only lasts for around a week to ten days, most factories are closed for an entire month. With severe delays to be expected once they open up again in March.

This time is especially risky for products that are due for shipment in the spring and summer season. Think swimwear and outdoor furniture.

Now is the time to prepare, and in this article, I will explain how you can avoid delayed shipments and quality issues during the Chinese New Year of 2019. Continue reading Chinese New Year 2019: How Importers Can Prevent Disaster