Import in China : Duties and taxes, the ultimate guide

Throughout the year of 2018, the Chinese government enacted a ranging of new regulations which is intended to companies importing & exporting taxable goods and services from and towards China.

These regulations exist in diverse ways and work depending on the products.

Here below an overview of taxes in which compagnies must face when they export or-and import from/towards China.

Consumption tax on imported goods

The tax of 13% concerns only a specific category of good from the agriculture sector, and on a certain kind of utilitarian objects.

For other goods, it is a tax of 17 % which will be applied.

The input VAT (sale x VAT rate) is the amount of the VAT paid when a taxable product or a service is bought and, could be deductible a TVA downstream.

Furthermore, it is the VAT amount of taxable goods or services submitted to the buyer by the seller.

Chinese consumption tax (CT) is Applied on companies and organizations which produce and import: Taxable products, taxable products under the figure of consignment or taxable sales products.

All products regarded as toxic to human health like: The tobacco, Alcohol, luxury goods (jewels, cosmetics) and top range products (cars and motorbikes) are taxable imported products to the consumption tax in China.

Custom duties in China 


Customs duties include importation and exportation taxes which represents 8 294 objects subject to a charge according to the customs tariff plan 2017/2018.  Customs duties are calculated either on the basis of « ad valorem » or on quantity.

Customs duties on most favored nations (MFN)


MFN taxes (Most Favored Nation) are the most often followed customs duties.

Broadly speaking, it is widely less important than overall rate Applied on non – MFN countries. Products concerned by This taxes are :

  • Imported goods towards China from a WTO member country.
  • Goods from countries or Territories having ratified a bilateral trade agreement which stipulate the provisions of the application of MFN taxes with China.
  • Goods from China

Conventional Customs Duties


It is Applied on imported goods from countries or Territories having ratified a regional trade agreement which stipulates the provisions on customs duties with China.


Special preferential Customs Duties


It is Applied on imported goods from countries or Territories having ratified a trade agreement which stipulates the provisions of preferential laws with China.

In general, these tariffs are lower than MPF rates and conventional customs duties.


General customs duties


The general tax is enforced on imported goods from countries or Territories with any agreements and treaties or from unknown origin.


Quota customs duties


The tariff quota law submitted imported goods to a lower tariff rate. For imported goods which outreach quotas, there is a more significant tariff rate.

Temporary customs duties

In 2016, China have been adopted these temporary customs duties which are lower than MPN.

These 787 imported Products concerned by this tax are:

  • Baby diapers (2%)
  • Sun glasses (6%)
  • Kaolinite (1%)
  • Health care products (Skin cosmetics = 2%)

Since 1th June 2015, China decreased its customs tariffs for 14 types of goods.

This Measure has been put into practice due to the decision made by the Chinese government of changing its tax policy for encouraging and increasing the domestic consumption.

Other customs duties

In China, there is other customs duties with a higher tariff.

It was a necessary decision to make in order to fight against dumping, misuse of funding’s and implementation of safeguards.

When a country does not respect a trade agreement, it is possible to apply this kind a deterrent measure, but it is exceptional.


Duty Applied to Technical Equipment

In 2017, has been published a “catalogue of products and technical equipment’s approved by the government “since 1st January 2018.

Taxes and customs duties on imported products are calculated in function of the value of the article and the price paid by the buyer.

It is called Duty Paying Value (DPV)herefore, export some specific tools is not anymore subject to customs duties for Chinese companies (Tariffs depending on the goods which are imported).

DPV takes freight charges and insurances into account, however customs duties and paid taxes are not.


How it is possible to calculate taxes and import duties?


It is possible to calculate import tax and customs duties in relying on the DPV (Duty Paying Value) and tax rate on goods.

  • Importation
  • Exportation

A few of raw Materials picked and semi-finished products are subject to customs duties. In 2016, some products including crude oil, fertilizers or iron alloys are submitted to temporary customs duties to preserve natural resources

Import Duties calculation

Ad Valorem Method
DPV x Customs tariff
Quantitative Method
Quantity of imported goods x cost of customs duties per unit
DPV x Tariff + Quantity of imported goods x cost of customs duties per unit
Calculation with RMB method and strandard exchange rate from The People’s Bank of China.

Import and export customs duties are calculated with the DPV

For exportation, DPV is based on a negotiate Price, it means on the price paid by the local seller who is exporting.


Customs Fees and Taxes in China


In order to make your shipment between China and USA, UK, AUSTRALIA, CANADA, and others more efficient, Sino Shipping experts in Customs issues, will do for you all the necessary formalities.

These administrative aspects are complicated, and any mistakes could retard and even stop completely the shipping.

For preventing these possible issues, entrust your goods transportations to our Sino shipping expert, who we will take over the transit of your goods to the destination.

Our experts located in China guarantee you an efficient and quick management of your customs formalities.


Importation process implemented by customs. 

The customs clearances can take times and retard your shipping. In order to prevent from that, it is recommended to anticipate the declaration of all the information whose customs need.

After having submitted the shipment of your goods, you will help for the good execution of the shipping between these two countries.

The declaration of goods submitted to customs authorities can be done by Internet. You only need to Connect to the web site and indicate the delivery address and some information’s.

After having complete all the information, an analysis will be done to confirm the delivery of your goods.

The payment on customs duties is done by bank transfer.

Documentation that it must be provided to customs authorities will depend on the category of the product transported.

However, some documents are mandatory:  Bill of landing, receipt, la facture, packing, customs declaration insurance, sales contract.

Specific procedures of importation

Some categories of products need a specific inspection such as Agri-food products (by the Health service)

It exists also some categories of products forbidden to import in China such as:  weapons, documents which could push the Chinese government back and the economy or poison, drugs, some animals, hazardous plants, food or medicine from countries affected by diseases.


Sample importation

All samples imported in China have to be declared to the customs authorities for inspection. Samples and goodies are taxable according to the product code (HS) Number and nature. Only a few exceptions exist.

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Custom Value of goods when you import:

It is evaluated to determinate duties and taxes. If you have any regulatory questions, contact the economic action center and general direction of customs in your region.

General rules for determinate the value according to customs authorities.

The method Applied by all customs in the world is based on HS code and the declared value of goods.


In the case of sale of goods imported

When goods are sold during the importation, an evaluation is done according to the transactional value.

Also, it could have an increase or decrease in accordance with fees to ad or to reduce on its value.

Factors added on the Price

Here the list of cost, products, delivery on production, usage and transit:

  • Commissions on sales
  • Cost of packaging
  • Price of contribution
  • Cost of amount fees and license fees
  • Value of each part of the product
  • Cost of transportation, insurance and handling fees

Each factor which is added to the paid price or to be paid has to be based on datas which are objective and measurable.

Factor deductible to the price

After the importation of some goods, there are some costs which are not to be consider and not to be included in the paid price/ to pay.

  • Fees on works
  • Cost of post-shipment transportation.
  • Duty and taxes on sales or importation
  • Reproduction right
  • Purchase Commissions
  • Interest on deferred payment

All these fees are deductible on the cost when they have not been included in the price and the most import thing, when it is possible to quantify and identify it.


When there are no sales or a reject of the transaction value

In the case of imported goods whom the aim is not to be sold like free goods, imported consignment goods, borrowed or rented objects etc. Or, when the transactional value is rejected.

In these case, we have different method to determinate the value:

Comparative method

Transactional value allows us to establish the custom value which is accepted by customs authorities and concerns the same goods, from the same country, imported at the same time and with the same commercial value.

Deductive Method

Value is fixed from a resale cost

Calculated value

We determine value according to the cost of raw materials, the manufacturing process, profits and shipment costs.

Last resort Method

Here, reasonable ways are used in giving objectives that we can easily quantify.
Generally, this application is aimed to use one of the methods in the simplest way. It exists two others case to consider it, which are the AVP and the AJ as well.


What does customs clearance in China mean?

Customs clearance in China. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Customs clearance can be conducted at any one of the many customs offices in China. A commercial invoice, packing list and the CIF (cost, insurance, and freight) must be provided for the shipment.

What is the import duty in China?

All goods imported into China are subject to the nation's value-added tax (VAT) of either 13 percent or 17 percent. The 13 percent tax is available for certain goods that fall mainly within the categories of agricultural and utility items, while the 17 percent tax applies to other goods subject to the VAT tax.

How much does customs clearance cost?

The customs clearance covers the process of preparing and submitting Customs Entry documentation to the CBP. This is also known as Customs Brokerage. Customs Clearance Fee Tips: The standard rate for Customs Clearance is around $50 for clearance with China's Customs and $100-$120 for clearance with CBP.

How is customs duty calculated?

Each country determines the assessment of duties and taxes differently. ... Duties and VAT are calculated as a percentage of the customs value of the goods (item + insurance + shipping). Any duties and taxes on your international shipment will be billed directly to you by the global carrier.

What happens if you don't pay customs?

There is no way of you taking possession / ownership of the goods unless you pay Customs duty i.e. if you don't pay the Customs duty, you can't take delivery of goods from Customs.

Do I need an import license to buy goods from China?

Do I Need a Permit to Import from China? There is no general import permit for importing products from China. However, you might need a permit to import from a federal agency certain goods from China. Different federal agencies oversee different imported products and requirements can vary.

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