How to Import from China

China's factories seem to be humming 24 hours a day. Almost anything that you can imagine is made in this country. Because of lower wages and overall costs, prices for wholesale imports from China are almost unbeatable. It's logical to import products that fit your market strategy from China. With some patience and due diligence, you can locate reliable suppliers in China.



        1 Choose one or two narrow product categories to import, initially. If you sell toys, perhaps you can add action figures from China to your product line. If your categories are too broad, you will spend a lot of time finding wholesale distributors and getting price quotes.

        2 Find and record the International Trade Codes (ITC) for the products that you want to import at TradeInfo. This information makes it easier to get quotations from different companies, because the codes are used worldwide. Review the Harmonized Tariff Schedule at this site also.

        3 Check the International Trade Administration's website for any restrictions on the product that you want to import.

        4 Find Chinese wholesale company information on the Federation of International Trade Association's website. Download the "China Business Guide," view active trade leads and links to Chinese trade sites. Get information about scheduled trade fairs in your area or nearby.

        5 Get wholesale price quotations from at least three companies. Ask for prices with shipping to your closest port of entry in the United States and prices without shipping, free along side (fas) and free on board (fob).

        6 Make sure the quotation shows the product quantity, along with the discounts for greater quantities. Wholesale quantities differ by company and by product. It is prudent to get samples, whenever possible. Ask the seller to specify the expiration date of the price quote.

        7 Decide which method of transfer you prefer. Clarify payment terms and arrange to transfer funds for your purchase. Choose a customs broker to handle the shipment details, customs fees and required documentation.

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Tips & Warnings

    When you attend trade fairs, the seller comes to you. It's often easier to do business with a person and a company that you have actually met.

    Use trusted sites to qualify your potential business partner in China.

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