US-China Trade War Tariffs: An Essential Guide for 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 Trade War Tariffs: An Essential Guide for Importers & Amazon Sellers

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

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Understanding import duties, port charges, 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 its own import duty rates and customs value calculation methods.

In this article, we explain what every Importer must know about import duties, customs valuation methods, and other taxes when importing products to the following countries and regions.

  • United States
  • European Union
  • Canada
  • Australia
  • New Zealand
  • United Kingdom

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

VAT on Imported Goods from China: A Complete Guide

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Imported from Asia to the EU, or selling cross-border? In this guide, we explain what importers, Amazon sellers, and cross-border e-commerce companies must know about the Value Added Tax (VAT) in the European Union.

We also collaborated with Alex Wyatt from SimplyVAT and Dr. Matthias Oldiges from KMLZ, two of Europes leading experts, to create this comprehensive VAT guide.

This is covered

  • VAT calculations for European importers
  • VAT rates in EU member states
  • How and when to pay VAT
  • VAT registration for EU companies
  • VAT registration for non-EU companies
  • VAT when dropshipping products
  • VAT when selling products online within the EU
  • VAT registration when selling from overseas to the EU
  • VAT when selling on Amazon

What is Value Added Tax (VAT)?

The VAT is a consumption tax in the European Union. In B2C transactions, VAT is always included in the price. If you, for example, buy a product online from an EU based online store, the price you pay includes VAT.

The seller can then subtract the VAT paid on imports, from VAT added on top of the sales price.

Below follows an example:

  • Sales: $10,000 (Including VAT, 20%)
  • Expenses: $5,000 (Including VAT 20%)

This allows us to make the following calculation.

  • Sales VAT: $2,000
  • Paid VAT: $1,000
  • Total: $2,000 – $1,000 = $1,000

Thus, I would need to pay a VAT of $1,000. If I’d spent more on VAT than I added on top of my sales, I would instead get money back from the state.

Continue reading VAT on Imported Goods from China: A Complete Guide

What is a Purchase Order and Proforma Invoice?

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purchase order

Importers issue Purchase Orders (PO) as a formal procedure to state their intention to buy certain products, according to the terms specified in the PO. The supplier should then counter by issuing a Proforma Invoice (PI), stating their intention to sell the products to you according to the terms stated in the PI.

While this may sound like an outdated formality, understanding the Purchase Order and Proforma Invoice issuing process can help avoid severe misunderstandings – leading to quality issues, receiving the wrong product or delays.

In this guide, you will learn what every importer should know about the following:

  • What is a Purchase Order?
  • What do I need to include in my Purchase Order?
  • How do I submit the purchase order to the factory?
  • Do I need to submit a Purchase Order before each production run?
  • Why do I need a Proforma Invoice from the factory?
  • What kind of information should the Proforma Invoice include?
  • How do I avoid payment fraud?
  • What is the difference between a Proforma Invoice and a Commercial Invoice?
  • Can I use the Proforma Invoice as proof of importation value?

In addition, we also provide sample invoice documents:

  • Purchase Order Sample
  • Proforma Invoice Sample
  • Commercial Invoice Sample

Continue reading What is a Purchase Order and Proforma Invoice?

Importing from China to Australia: A Complete Guide

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About to import products from China to Australia? This guide is a comprehensive introduction to everything that Australian importers must know, before getting started.

Keep reading, and learn more about Australian product safety standards, mandatory labeling requirements, GST, customs duties, and other import taxes.

As a bonus, this guide also includes an exclusive Import Cost Calculation Case Study, providing you with a tool for calculating all relevant taxes and fees in Australia.

Australian Product Safety Standards

Australia regulates products in many industries, including Children’s products, furniture, vehicles and chemicals in consumer products.

When importing from China to Australia, the buyer is responsible for ensuring compliance with all mandatory product safety standards, and compliance procedures.

As such, you must keep track of the following:

a. Product safety standards (i.e., AS/NZS standards)
b. Substance restrictions (i.e., AZO dyes) Continue reading Importing from China to Australia: A Complete Guide

Import Duties in Australia When Buying From Asia: An Essential Guide

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Understanding the Australian import duty and tariff system, with many its exemptions and country of origin classes, can be rather complicated. In this article, we explain what Australian importers must know about import duty rates, HS codes, and tariffs:

  • Country of origin classifications
  • How to confirm the applicable HS code and duty rate for your product
  • Chapters and sections
  • How to (legally) reduce the import duty rate
  • When to pay import duties
  • How to calculate the customs value and import duty
  • Other import taxes in Australia

Continue reading Import Duties in Australia When Buying From Asia: An Essential Guide

Australia Import Processing Charge When Importing From Asia: A Complete Guide

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About to import products from China, Vietnam or elsewhere, to Australia? If the total importation value is above AU$1,000, you’ll need to submit an import declaration and pay an import processing charge of at least 50 Australian Dollars.

In this guide, we explain what Australian importers must know about the Import Processing Charge:

  • Import Processing Charge Overview
  • Reduced rates for warehoused goods
  • When and how to pay the Import Processing Charge
  • Exemptions, small volumes, and sample orders
  • Import Processing Charge for online purchases and private importers

What is the Import Processing Charge when importing from China, Vietnam or India?

The importing processing charge depends on the customs value (CVAL) and whether you submit the import declaration manually or online. However, unlike import duties which may differ depending on the country of origin, the import processing charge is always the same.

As such, you’ll pay as much for a shipment coming in from China, as one from Vietnam or any other foreign country. Continue reading Australia Import Processing Charge When Importing From Asia: A Complete Guide

Australia GST When Importing From Asia: A Complete Guide

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Importing from China, Vietnam or India to Australia? Most likely, you’ll need to pay a Goods and Services Tax (GST) of 10% on top of the taxable importation value.

In this article, I explain what every Australian importer must know about GST, including:

  • GST rates on imported goods
  • GST calculation examples
  • How to (legally) reduce the payable GST
  • How to correctly declare GST
  • GST credits when importing goods
  • GST exemptions and thresholds on imported goods
  • GST for private importers
  • GST registration for overseas companies

What is the GST rate when importing from China, Vietnam or other countries in Asia?

The GST rate for imported goods in Australia is 10%. Unlike for import duties (which may differ depending on the manufacturing country), the GST rate is the same regardless of the country of origin.

As such, you’ll pay a 10% GST on top of the customs value (CVAL) regardless of whether the products are manufactured in or imported from China, Vietnam, India or another country. Continue reading Australia GST When Importing From Asia: A Complete Guide

Import duties from China: How much should I pay?

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Not sure how to calculate import duties on your incoming shipment from China? Read this article, to learn how you can make an accurate customs duty estimation, find the right customs value for your country and HS code for your product.

You will also learn how, and when, to declare import duties to your local customs authorities – and why it’s a really bad idea to undervalue your goods for the sake of paying a lower duty rate.

How do I calculate the import duties?

Two factors that decide the amount of import duty you must pay are the following

a. Import duty rate (%)
b. Customs value

The import duty rate depends on the product and its assigned HS code. The customs value, on the other hand, depends on the target market.

Below follows an overview:

Country / MarketCustoms ValueComment
United StatesFOBOnly the product cost is included
European UnionCIFIncludes product and freight cost
United Kingdom (EU)CIFIncludes product and freight cost
CanadaFOBOnly the product cost is included
AustraliaFOBOnly the product cost is included
New ZealandFOBOnly the product cost is included
SingaporeCIFIncludes product and freight cost
Hong Kong S.A.R (PRC)NoneNo import duties

In many markets, the customs value also includes the cost of samples, tooling and any services provided by the foreign supplier.

However, the customs value never include services generated domestically, such as forwarding from the port of loading to your address.

Note: Read this article about Incoterms to learn more about FOB (Free on Board) and CIF (Cost Freight Insurance)

Continue reading Import duties from China: How much should I pay?

US Customs Procedures Explained: What Importers Must Know

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US Customs Procedures

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Trying to get your head around US customs regulations and procedures? Not sure what a Customs bond is, or when you should submit the Bill of Lading? Getting your cargo through customs is the final step importing process, and the stakes are high. Without complying with the established customs procedures and regulations, you may face very serious complications – including costly delays and refused entry of the shipment.

In order to straighten things out for our American readers, we got in touch with a real professional – Kathy Rinetti, Customs Manager of Flexport.com, based in San Francisco. In this article, Kathy explains what US importers must know about freight documents, customs bonds, port fees – and why you need a Customs broker.  Continue reading US Customs Procedures Explained: What Importers Must Know