china customs

How to Export Products To China

You are thinking to export products to China but don’t know the rules and regulations you have to follow?

China imports products from many countries.

If you see on the list of top china imports by the country, you will find USA, Japan, Australia, Germany are at the top.

Each year they are exporting to China goods worth more than a hundred billion dollars.

If you want to enter a large market, you have to know all the rules very clearly.

That’s why Hart experts created this guide for you to export products to china

After reading the guide, you will have all the information you need before you start exporting to China.

If you have any further questions, you are always welcome to ask us.


Table Of Content:

1. Export Environment in China
2. Pre-market consideration
3. Imports Classifications
  • Prohibited Items
  • The Permitted Items
4. Industry Restriction
  • Import Licenses
  • Automatic License
  • Non-Automatic License
  • What Information Is Required To Apply For An Import License?
5. Market Entry Method
  • Representative office
  • WFOE
  • Joint venture
  • Employment solutions
  • Import partner/distributor
6. New Regulations By The Chinese Government
7. The Chinese Tax System
  • Import Duties
  • Import Value-Added Tax
  • Consumption Tax
8. Other Relevant Information
  • What is the process of Export and Import To China
  • What are China’s Major Imports
  • From Which Countries Does China Import?
  • What Is Import Compliance?
  • Do I Need An Export License To Ship To China?

1. Export Environment in China

China is the owner of the 2nd largest economy in the world right now.

This economy creates large numbers of business opportunities for many foreign companies planning to export to China.

China became the global export leader in 2010.

The country also became the largest trader in 2013.

Between 2013 to 2017 Chinese economy felt a rapid boost, and in 2021, the country has become the leader in international trading.

China joined WTO in 2001, and since then, the whole world was looking for cheap labor for electronics products.

China doesn’t provide cheap labor only they also provide laborers with the highest skill.

The Chinese Government also helped the international market by opening its market to the international community.

This massive market of China also created opportunities for the exporters who want to export to China.

China imports products from many countries in the world.

China became the second-largest buyer of food and beverage in 2016.


China Import Market is expanding
China Import Market is expanding

The major imports of China are food, and the country imports  6.67 percent of food from all over the world.

In 2019, China imported 2.8 trillion worth of products from various sectors, and many countries are exporting to China.

It means China has a large market, and you can export to China.

2. Pre-Market Consideration For Export Products to China

If you are thinking of exporting to China, there are some prerequisites and preparation.

Without following the Chinese standard, you can not import to China.

So, before you become an importer in China, know the following:

2.1 Import standards in China

Many foreign exporters want to export to China for its growing market.

Therefore, many companies promote their products in the Chinese market so that they can import to China.

But before you do that, you have to know the Chinese Government’s rules about major imports in China. Also, exporters should find an ideal company formation for their business.

China has strict rules and regulations for exporting to China.

China is very much careful about its national security and never compromises public health issues.

You may have heard about meat export china, beef to china, soybean export to China, but the Chinese Government implies strict rules for those items.

The Standardization Administration of China (SAC) is in charge of developing all national standards in China.

There are four categories for Chinese product standards:

  • Local standards
  • Industry standards
  • National standards
  • Enterprise standards for individual organizations.
  • If you want to become an importer in China and, you have to adopt several of the above standards.

All China import products have to follow one or multiple standards.

2.2 What Certificates Are Needed?

The China National Certification and Accreditation Administration (CNCA) dictates the assessment policies for the products you will import to China.

The organization also provides necessary certificates, testing standards, and  China Compulsory Certification (CCC) marks.

The CCC mark features the national safety and quality check for 23 types of products you can import to China.

If you import any product from 23 categories, your products must obtain the CCC marks.

Otherwise, you won’t be able to import your products to China.

China imports more than 20% of products from The US, and all of those products must obtain the CCC marks.

If those products fail to get CCC marks, the Chinese customs will confiscate those products and return them to the exporter with several penalties.

3. Classified Goods 

The ministry of commerce of China has three classifications for goods you can import to China. They are


You should know which goods are permitted in China
You should know which goods are permitted in China
  • Permitted Goods
  • Prohibited Goods
  • Banned Goods.

All China Import products are categorized in these three sectors and before exporting to China you have to understand which type of products you are dealing with.

3.1 The Permitted Items

You will get an automatic license for goods that are permitted by the Chinese authority.

You can import six batches of food upon this license. The license is valid for six months.

3.2.  Banned And Restricted Items

You can import restricted products, but you will need special permission to do that.

There is also an annual quota to import restricted products to China.

You have to take permission from Chinese customs.

The consent is valid for one year only.

Banned products, on the other hand, are entirely prohibited.

You can not import band products to China in any case.

If you do, you have to face severe consequences for that.

We have listed the Banned and restricted products. You find those below:

  1. Weaponries, simulated Weaponries, explosives, and ammunition
  2. Fake international currency or securities
  3. Films, printed items, movies, audio, and videotapes, CD, VCD, DVDs, digital storage devices, and any other storage device can harm Chinese politics, finance, culture, and morality.
  4. Any kind of addictive drugs and poisons.

        5. Any kind of drugs or foods harmful to humans, animals or can cause any infection.

  1. Animals or derived from Animals products:
  • Any kind of living animals except dogs and cats, sperm, zygotes, or other genetic things.
  • Cooked or raw food
  • Any type of milk or dairy products.
  • Eggs and products are derived from eggs and are not heat treated.
  • Eggs and their products that are not heat-treated
  • Flesh, bones, oil, horns, fur, and products derived from that.
  • Any type of bird’s nest except canned birds.
  1. Plants and plats related products:
  • Any type of vegetables and fresh fruits.
  • Tobacco leaves except cut tobacco.
  • Furtilizatble plants, sprouts, seeds, nursery stock.

The soil of any kind.

  1. Other prohibited items:
  • Any type of animal specimen, bodies, samples
  • Transgenic biomaterial
  • Human blood and corresponding objects.

You have to go through some strict regulations for the following type of products

  • meat export to china
  • beef to china
  • beef exports to china
  • soybean export to china

For detailed information on prohibited and banned items, you can visit the Chinese customs official website.

3.3 Industry Restriction

China has several restrictions on its food products.

Harmful food products are restricted by the National Health and Family Planning Commission (NHFPC) of China.

As a result, exported food to China faces multiple layers of security procedures, even though China imports lots of food and beverage products from all over the world.

 The Chinese government makes every food and beverage that enters Chinese market not a health-related issue for its citizens.

International food manufacturers and exporters have to register before they start exporting foods to China.


 China has own standard for industrial products
China has own standard for industrial products

State Certification and Accreditation Administration (CAA) maintains the registration procedure.

The institution also has regulation rules for meat export to China, beef exports to China, soybean export to China, and related products as they have some additional health issues.

There is another institution, China Restriction of Hazardous Substances (China RoHS 2) who monitors industrial products you can import to China.

The institution prevents risky electrical and electronics equipment export to China.

China has its own standard for electronic products, and you have to comply with the bar to import electronic products to China.

4. Import Licenses For Export Products to China

The Chinese Government provides two types of licenses for those who want to export to China.

  1. Automatic licenses.
  2. Non-automatic licenses.

The first license is for regular import to China and the second one is for prohibited and restricted products when importing to china.

So, before exporting to China, you have to determine which type of products you want to export to China.

Every importer from China also has to take licenses from the Chinese Government.

4.1 Automatic License

Most permitted goods that you can export to China require automatic licenses.

China’s major imports are conducted with this license.


Apply online for an automatic license for export products to china
Apply online for an automatic license

The authority issue this import license upon your online application.

Applying for the process is relatively easy.

You have to apply for an automatic license from the Ministry of Commerce of China before importing to china.

After getting the automatic license to import products to China, you can become an import agent in China.

With the license, you can import any number of products to China and don’t have to declare the number of products you are willing to export to China.

But you have applied for a new license each time for a new kind of item before exporting to China.

You can use your automatic license for six months.

If you don’t export to China in this time period, you can not export after the time ends.

4.2 Non-Automatic License

To restrict the importation of prohibited goods, the Chinese Government issues the non-automatic listen.

You can import prohibited goods under the strict regulations of the Chinese Government.

But in this case, you can not import as much as you want.

With the license, you will be permitted to import a certain amount of restricted products.

You can not exceed the quota in any circumstances.

Every importer from China also has to take a non-automatic license.

4.3 What Information Is Required To Apply For An Import License?

To obtain the license of importing to China, you have to prepare some documentation and provide those along with your application.

The documents you will require are as follows:

  • Company name and information of the importer.
  • Beneficiary in China
  • Number and expiry date of the automatic license.
  • Foreign exchange terms and trade
  • Place of clearance
  • Exportation of origin (Country/Region)
  • Use of goods
  • Goods and product codes and other description
  • Specification, unit, quantity, unit price
  • Issuing authority stamp
  • Others additional details

5. Market Entry Method For Export Products to China

So, now you know the prerequisites of export to China.

Now, you can focus on how you can enter the Chinese market.

Every company wanting to export to China need to entirely examine the followings:

  • Trade policies in China
  • Quantity and quality of business resources
  • Experience in related field
  • Short and long term plans

Without examining those things, you should not enter the Chinese market as you can face severe problems in the long and short run.

We recommend an ‘import agent China’ or partners for foreign farms preparing to export in China as they possess extensive knowledge to help you.

Moreover, an import agent in China can help you understand the local law so that you don’t have to face any legal issues when exporting to China.

Import agent from China can help you providing important information regarding export procedure in China.

Foreign companies can offer employment solutions and establish a firm ground in the Chinese market.

There are many options for foreign companies, such as owning foreign Enterprises, representative Offices, business in joint ventures, and many others.

But remember, each option has its benefits and risk factors.

Know your strength and business structure before starting anything in China.

5.1 Representative Office

For exporting to China, you need to have a strong presence in the Chinese market, and a representative office is the simplest way to establish your company in China.

There are three basic rules to establish a repressive office in China.

The rules are:

  • The company, agency, or corporation’s age must be equal to or more than two years.
  • The company/agency/corporation must control the repressive office.
  • A chief representative must manage the office.
  • The representative office must have an approved working area after getting approval from the Chinese Government.

The processing time is just two to three months to establish a representative office in China.


Set up your representative office in China
Set up your representative office in China

A Representative Office is not considered an independent legal person, and there are numerous limitations for business operations.

Some of the restrictions include trading, directly hiring local citizens, deriving profits, trading, etc.

Companies are only allowed for specific activities like market research, product promotion, etc.

Representative Offices are bound to pay taxes. A representative office has to pay a minimum of 10% on their gross expenses.

Rep Offices can operate the payroll of their own employees and have permission to take up to 4 foreign workers (including the principal legal manager).

A Chinese agent or company is mandatory for hiring local citizens and manage payroll for them.

An import agent China can help you establish a representative office in China for export products to China,

5.2 WFOE

WFOE means Wholly Foreign-Owned Enterprise.

This is the most common business structure that international companies exporting to China follow.

Establishing a wholly foreign-owned enterprise in China is a more complicated and costly process than establishing a representative office.

A WFOE does not require a Chinese partner to initiate its business in China.

Therefore, a WFOE gets more freedom in China.

Moreover, a WFOE international company can manufacture, trade, offer services, make a profit, recruit local citizens, issue payroll to local citizens, and repatriate funds overseas.

WFOE permitted companies to be fully legal entities according to Chinese Company Law. A foreign company must obtain WFOE permission in China for hiring Chinese employees and issue payroll.

5.3 Joint venture for export products to china

A Joint Venture (JV) is another type of company formation you can set up in China.

As the name suggests, this is a joint venture between a Chinese company and a foreign company.

Here the foreign company signs an agreement with a local company and creates a new business or relationship in an existing business.

Both the companies share administrative responsibilities, investments, profit & share, and other financial issues.


You can start a joint venture in China to export products to china
You can start a joint venture in China

Equity Joint Venture (EJV) and Contractual Joint Venture (CJV) are the two most typical JVs establishment types in China.

You can take the help of an import agent China to start a joint venture business.

5.4 Employment solutions or Employer of Record Solution

This formation allows international companies to offer the job to foreign and local citizens of China.

The authority doesn’t have to be the local entity in China to provide this opportunity.

They can also aid matters related to income tax, medical insurance, company payroll.

Many companies contract foreign staff for business purposes, and the employment record solution maintains all the logistics and legal procedures to hire staff from abroad.

This way, the companies can focus on their business matter rather than investing time and resources in hiring foreign staff.

5.5 Import Partner/Distributor

Creating a sales network with distributors in their area of interest in the Chinese market is another way of establishing a business for foreign companies in China.

Monitoring and adapting local and international policies is the prime working area of these import distributors.

They can propose new regulations and guidelines from their gathered data.

6. New Regulations By The Chinese Government to Export Products to China

The way the Chinese Government regulates imports to China is a complicated procedure, and you have to know the new rules if you are planning to export to China.

Over the last couple of years, the Chinese customs has implemented several new rules for the importers in China.

Here are some new rules that the Chinese customs have applied to all imports to China since 2018:

  • Submission manifest has to be made before 24 hours of loading, including all cargo going to coming from China.
  • The cargo description has to be detailed and precise.
  • The consignee and the shipper must include their detailed address information along with the enterprise codes.
  • Full contact details of the shipper and consignee are mandatory, as well as the enterprise codes.

7. The Chinese Tax System for Export Products to China

Before exporting to China, you must understand the taxation system of China in detail.

How does the Chinese taxation system work?


New importers can watch the video to avoid common mistakes

What is the rate of Tax for various products?

For exporting to China, three types of taxes:

  • Import duties
  • Import value-added Tax
  • Consumption tax

The taxation system depends on the type of goods you are exporting to China and some other factors.


china customs for export products to china
china customs

7.1 Import Duties for export products to china

The customs duties when exporting to China depend on various factors like favored-nation, special preferential, general, conventional duty rates, etc.

Moreover, there are tariff-rate quotas and temporary duty rates.

It is possible for the most-favored-nation duty rates category to precisely calculate the preferential and general tariff rates for importing to China.

If you are exporting to China from a nation that is not a part of most-favored-nation trade agreements, then the tariff rates change.

For those countries that are not a part of the most-favored-nations agreements, the general rate of exporting to China rises from 0% to 8-270%, and there 20 different rates in between.

On the other hand, if you want to export to China from a country that is a part of the most-favored-nations trade agreements, the preferential tariff rate range from 0%, 1 %  to up to 121.6% in fifty different rates category.

7.2 Import Value-Added Tax for export products to china

The Tax must have to be paid for every business transaction in China monthly.

Tax is also applied to every importer from China who is importing to china.


You have to know the Chinese Tax system
You have to know the Chinese Tax system

According to the nature of goods, the Chinese Government implies three categories of VAT rates.

  • 16% VAT in all imports to China is the standard VAT imposed by the Chinese Government. The value includes the customs value and the freight insurance (CIF). This rate covers sales, processing, repair, and replacement services of the goods. This rate concerns the sale of goods, processing, repair of products, replacement services, and leasing physical property or impartation.
  • 10% VAT is implied on primary telecommunication tools, real estate lease, sales, transportation tools, transfer rights of lands, sales, importing agricultural products, natural gas, etc.
  • For some specific small-scale taxpayers, 6% VAT is applied. Meeting some criteria, you can enlist yourself in the small-scale taxpayer category.

7.3 Consumption Tax for export products to china

If you are importing taxable products in China, you are subjected to the consumption tax.

All China import products are subjected to consumption Tax.


Expansive jewelary must pay consumption tax for export products to china
Expansive jewelry must pay consumption tax

Here is the list of consumption Taxes according to four categories prepared by the Chinese customs department for every exporter to China to every importer from China.

Category Items Tax Rate
Products that are potentially

Harmful for health, environment, or social order

Cigar, tobacco, and cut tobacco


50%, 25%, 30% respectively
Alcohol or drinks containing alcohol


From 5% to 25%
Products related to fireworks


Luxury products Cosmetics 30%
Valuable pieces of jewelry From 5% to 10%
The skin care, hair care Up to 8%
Energy consumption high-end products Cars, Motorcycles, 10%
Tires From 3% to 8%
Non-renewable energy products Diesel .3-.28 CNY/L
Gasoline .1 CNY/L

All Tax must be applied to China main imports

If you don’t know what consumption tax is please watch the video


Others Important Information

1. What Is The Process Of Export And Import To China?

The import and export process depends on the documentation.

Anyone who wishes to import from or export to China has to submit proper domination according to each country’s rules and regulations.

Every improper from China has to submit proper documentation.

You will get permission to import from or export to China depending on your provided documentation and the information provided there.

2. What Are China’s Major Imports? 

China major imports are :

  • Electronic equipment and machinery: USD496.8 billion (24% of total imports)
  • Mineral Fuels USD 342 billion (16.6% of tola imports)
  • Computer machinery USD190.3 billion (9.2% of total imports)
  • Ores, slag, ash: USD163.6 billion (7.9% of total imports)
  • Medical equipment: USD98.7 billion (4.8% of total imports)
  • Various motor cars: USD75.1 billion (3.6% of total imports)
  • Plastic articles and plastics: USD71.6 billion (3.5% of total imports)
  • Gems, precious metals: USD60.5 billion (2.9% of total imports)
  • Organic chemicals: USD57.8 billion (2.8% of total imports)
  • Copper: USD40.8 billion (2% of total imports)

In recent times various food and beverage products are becoming china major imports.

3. From Which Countries Does China Import?

Here is the list of China imports by country in the year 2019

China imports by country Value
America USD123.24 Billion
Australia USD 119.61 Billion
Germany USD 105.04 Billion
Brazil USD 79.20 Billion

**Trading rival USA is the first for China imports by country. The rest of China import by country is also same for the last year. Most of China imports come from these countries.

4. What Is Import Compliance?

It is a set of rules of how you have to follow the local obligations of a country’s customs department and other government agencies.

5. Do I Need An Export License To Ship To China?

Yes, you do. Without an export license, you can not export to China.

The Chinese Government provides two types of licenses.

You can obtain an automatic license and export to China for six months with that license for regular products.

For prohibited products, you can get non-automatic licenses.

You can get the automatic license by applying online, but for a non-automatic license, you have to go through several processes.

What is import-export license



To summarize, you have to identify the type of goods you want to export to China.

According to your goods, you can determine what kind of license you will need.

You should also know the taxation system of China in detail and China major imports before deciding your product.

Remember China is a big country with a considerable number of products. So, it would be best if you took a proper marketing plan before you export to China.

At last Hart, Logistics is a leading shipping service provider in China.

We know the customs rules for China’s main imports and other less important imports.

You can contact us to get detailed information about customs duties in China. Just send us a message, and our expert team will contact you immediately.

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