Importing Goods From China Opportunities And Considerations
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China is known as the world's largest exporter of manufactured consumer products. Many commercial entrepreneurs import consumer products from China benefiting from lower prices. Global Affairs Canada reports that “China is Canada’s second most important bilateral commercial partner.” (Source) The US is number 1. If you are considering importing products from China, take the time to research the import and manufacturing process before you commit. Here are some considerations. 

Does The Product Meet All The Health And Safety Requirements In The Destination Country?

What certifications and/or barriers are applied to the product in the country you intend to market the product? For Canada, does the product meet all the requirements of the Canada Consumer Product Safety Act? Does it meet all the health and safety regulations of all provincial and/or federal agencies? Are all labelling and marking regulations met? Ensure that the product does not contain any dangerous or harmful ingredients or parts. Verify the raw materials that are used to manufacture your product. Are the components safe and of good quality? Ask a lot of questions. Is the manufacturer or supplier aware of the Canadian safety regulations? Ensure you consistently communicate the standards you require to import this product. It helps to get samples to test the quality. If you can, visit the manufacturer or hire someone to do this on your behalf. It may be cost effective to have your shipment inspected prior to shipping. There is an added cost to this but it may be worthwhile until you develop a trust with your manufacturer.

Ensure The Product Is Protected By Patents, Trademarks Or Intellectual Property Rights

You should ensure that you not only have protection in Canada but ensure you also have it in China. 

The Canadian Intellectual Property Office of Canada states:

“A Canadian patent, trademark or industrial design does not secure your rights outside of Canada. You should consider obtaining IP protection in the countries where you plan on doing business, including selling products over the internet and/or manufacturing products overseas.” (Source)

Choose A Reliable Vendor, Supplier And/Or Manufacturer 

Compare and check price and quality amongst vendors for the same product. Research your manufacturer/supplier. Are they capable? Are they reliable? Learn the manufacturing process in China. There are risks with the quality and safety of the products coming out of China. Be specific about your requirements. Get everything agreed upon in writing. Get written contracts and ensure you get legal advice on the terms and conditions. As mentioned earlier, if possible visit your manufacturer or hire someone to do so. 

A freight management company like ours can help consolidate multiple orders from various suppliers in China resulting in cost savings.

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Choose A Reliable And Cost Effective Means Of Shipping The Product

Research the cost and time for delivery. Is the shipping time and cost reasonable and reliable for your business.There are various shipping methods available. The method you choose will generally depend upon the size, weight, volume and packaging of your product. A Freight Manager can help you make these decisions.

The fastest method is express mail by courier. This method generally takes 1-4 days. This method can be reasonably priced but depends on the size of shipment. Small lightweight products cater to this method. Small e-commerce businesses generally rely on this type of carrier. 

Air freight is the next fastest and generally takes 5-10 days. Air Cargo rates can be costly but the shipment delivery is generally pretty reliable. Air Cargo is not really feasible for large products. E-commerce businesses also tend to use this method.

Sea or Ocean Freight caters to larger and heavier products and voluminous shipments. This method takes 14-37 days. Ocean rates are generally pretty reasonable but unfortunately have doubled and tripled due to pandemic related delays and closures. Hopefully as the world progresses through the pandemic these prices will move downwards. 

A Beginner’s Guide To Ocean Freight Container Shipping

Check the Incoterms® regarding insurance or coverage for lost and/or damaged goods. Choose the most advantageous to you. Get freight insurance if your shipment is not covered in Incoterms®.

What Is Freight Insurance And What Do Your Freight Insurance Rates Cover?

Ensure You Understand All The Import And Export Requirements That CBSA Or The Customs Officials Of China Require Of You 

Ensure you are knowledgeable regarding all the required documentation that customs and other agencies require for the importation of your product. Your documentation must be complete and correct. Research the costs for duty and tax.

It is wise at this point to consider using a customs broker to assist you with the export and import process so that unforeseen delays can be avoided. 

Do the homework before you commit to importing from China. We can assist with all your import and shipping queries. Contact one of our trade advisors.

Need help with freight from China? Get help from a PCB Trade Advisor
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About Author
Alexandra Haukaas

Alex Haukaas is a logistics professional who has been in the freight forwarding, NVOCC, and brokerage industries for over 18 years. Alex has worked in all modes of transportation, including air, ocean, truck, rail, and project cargo. Her successful management style is a hands-on approach to identifying her team's strengths, which results in a positive and cohesive work environment. In 2022, Alex was recognized by the Surrey Board of Trade for her exemplary work throughout the pandemic and received the Surrey Women in Business Corporate Leader Award.

While we strive for accuracy in all our communications, as the Importer of Record it is incumbent upon your company to ensure that you are aware of the requirements under the new regulations so that you maintain compliance as always.