Importing from China 2024: what you need to do and what are the documents


The procedure for importing from China can be complex if the necessary formalities and documents are not known. The requirements to be met when buying from China may vary from category to product category but there are some fundamental documents common to all types of shipment.

Requirements for purchasing from China

People who purchase goods from non-EU countries, including individuals and VAT number holders, must:

  • Declare the goods to customs with the commercial invoice of the foreign seller
  • Pay the taxes and duties provided for by the Monopoly Customs Agency
  • Paying VAT on purchases

In case of purchase of goods from non-EU countries (imports), the buyer must fulfill a series of obligations, such as:

  • Customs declaration
  • Pay the value added tax at customs
  • Register the customs declaration

How the customs bill works for importing from China

Imported goods must be cleared through customs, or inspected by customs before being placed on the territory of the country to verify the quantity of the goods, if they are suitable for distribution in the country of arrival and their value.

If the outcome of the inspection is positive, a customs bill will be issued to prove that the duties and VAT have been paid. The "import" tax base is given by the sum of the customs value of the imported goods, which is equivalent to the transaction value together with the ancillary costs before importation.

The applicable value added tax rate is the current tax rate on domestic goods.

Compared to the documents for importing from China, the list may vary according to the type of product you want to buy; however, there are at least 4 documents required to be produced to import the goods into Italy.

Import from China stress free with Noziroh Hub

Here is a checklist of the documentation you need to obtain for importing goods from China

  • Commercial Invoice
  • Packing List
  • Bill of loading
  • Certificate of Origin

What is Commercial Invoice for importing from China

The Commercial Invoice contains all the data of the manufacturer, the buyer, the goods and the economic value of the imported goods.

The invoice must be detailed, because the incidence of customs duties and VAT will be calculated on the basis of the cost of the products rather than the molds or samples.

We remind you that it is very important to provide information as clearly as possible to avoid misunderstandings that can delay delivery times.

What is the Packing List

The packing list is a mandatory document in non-EU countries and contains the list of packaging present in one or more lots of goods. This non-fiscal document must contain the identification data of the external appearance of each package.

In other words, the packing list contains all the data of the load: from the total number of items and packages to the total weight and volume of the load that company is importing from China.

We remind you that it is very important to provide information as clearly as possible to avoid misunderstandings that can delay delivery times.

What is the Bill of Lading

The bill of lading is a credit document that certifies the stipulation of the maritime transport contract and grants the right to obtain delivery of the goods. The data in the Bill of Lading must exactly match the data in the Commercial Invoice and the Packaging List (the packing slip).

Furthermore, the data reported in the Bill of Lading and in the Commercial Invoice must be consistent with the data of the Certificate of Origin, an indispensable certificate provided by the China Chamber of International Commerce (CCOIC). This step is very important to importing from China.

When the importer is not in possession of this insurance policy, he cannot prove that he is the owner of the goods, nor can he complete customs procedures.

importing from china guideline

Bill of Lading Scams for importing from China

There are several scams related to Bill of Lading. When the goods are taken over by a Chinese freight forwarder, it can happen that the attached document is "lost" during the shipping process.

Therefore, once the goods have arrived, the shipper will contact the importer to ask to increase the cost of the transport service with additions that usually range from 8,000 to 20,000 euros for importing from China.

If the buyer refuses to pay, the sender will keep the bill of lading and other transport documents, preventing the buyer from completing customs procedures and receiving the goods; the goods then remain in the port of destination, and if the buyer does not collect them in a few days or does not sign a contract with the local forwarder to collect the goods for him, he will have to pay a rent of 40 to 80 euros per day.

What is the Certificate of Origin for importing from China

The certificate of origin (also known as Form A, C / O, COO or CoO) reports the country of origin where the product is manufactured or assembled.

After the arrival of the goods at the port of loading, the customs authority can request a certificate of origin both to verify the country of origin, which could lead to different import duty rates, and to confirm whether the product has been correctly labeled.

Usually the certificate of origin is issued by the supplier.

Special goods from China and additional documents

Depending on the type of goods, additional documents may be required to clear customs for imported goods. Some categories of special goods importing from China are:

  1. Goose down padding: goose down padding requires both a Health Certificate issued by the Chinese sender and a Health Authorization on behalf of the recipient. The Nulla Osta can be requested and obtained from the shipping service itself.
  2. Leather products: Goods must be accompanied by a Washington declaration confirming that the product is not subject to CITES (Convention on Endangered Species).
  3. Some electronic / electrical equipment (such as antennas, car radios, decoders, multimedia players, displays, etc.): in these cases the CE mark is required, which indicates compliance with the safety requirements of the EU directives.

Importing from China requires organization and skills to avoid unpleasant surprises in preparing and presenting the documents necessary for the entry of the purchased goods.

Relying on on-site facilities is essential to verify the reliability of factories and suppliers, verify if the certifications are authentic and if the products can be legally sold in Europe.

Companies like Noziroh Hub are the key to importing from China and successfully managing the production process. With a single contact, it is possible to manage all stages of procurement, from supplier research to production, from certification to goods storage and shipping from China.

Our team of Italian mother tongue experts also follows customers during the delicate stages of importing goods and customs clearance. The company is located in Italy and has a branch in China capable of storing goods from suppliers, inspecting them, and then shipping them to customers.

Author: Anna Pupi

Import from China stress free with Noziroh Hub

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