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About to import products from China to the United States? Then keep reading! In this guide, we explain what US-based businesses must know, before buying consumer goods from trading companies and manufacturers in China, and other Asian countries.
This article explains what startups and small businesses must know about US product regulations, labelling requirements, and transportation restrictions.
In addition, we also give you an introduction to customs bonds, customs value calculations, import taxes, and freight costs.
Important update regarding the increased US-China tariffs
As of today, the tariffs on the $200 B goods levied in September 2018, has increased from 10% to 25%. This is also what US President Trump stated when he levied the initial 10% additional tariff on listed products. As trade talks have seemingly stalled, it’s essential for importers worldwide to prepare for what is likely the new normal:
1. All companies importing to the US are affected by the new tariffs, including non-US companies importing as a foreign importer of record
2. The tariffs are not yet expanded to cover most consumer products (e.g. textiles and electronics), although that may come later this year
3. For many product categories, it’s still not an option to simply shift orders to suppliers in other Asian countries – because for most categories there simply are no factories outside of China. Hence, your option is most likely to either pass on the new tariffs so your customers – or not buy products at all.
Is China finished for US importers?
This is the questions on everyone mind today. If you’re buying textiles or furniture, you may want to consider other manufacturing countries at this stage.
However, if you’re importing electronics, watches, fitness equipment – or a range of other products – you’ll quickly find that alternative manufacturers outside of China are either few and far in between, or completely non-existent.
Large companies can, and are, shifting production to other countries, but small businesses cannot afford to set up their own production facilities and must, therefore, rely on existing manufacturing infrastructure to come into place.
For now, many small US importers (and non-US small businesses selling into the US) will either need to absorb the new tariffs or stop importing altogether.
Product Safety Regulations
Importers based in the United States must keep track of two sets of product regulations:
- Federal regulations (applicable in all US states)
- State regulations (applicable in certain states only)
Let’s start with the first category, as this is what affects everyone. Below follows an overview of relevant government bodies and regulations, in the United States:
a. CPSIA: This is a framework regulation, which applies to (at least so far) to toys and other children’s products. The definition of a Children’s product is, currently, any product that is marketed as appropriate for children aged 12 or younger. Continue reading Importing from China to the United States: A Complete Guide