Import From China Business

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A practical guide for starting a small business

Import to USA
The Process in Detail

Step 1: Import to USA - Port of Entry

Once the Bill of Lading is submitted, your broker has five days to deliver the documents which will allow you to get your goods off the dock and successfully import to USA.

Import documents required:

  1. Bill of Lading
  2. Certificate of Origin
  3. Commercial Invoice
  4. Customs Bond
  5. Inward Cargo Manifest (U.S. Customs form 7553) or Entry/Immediate Delivery (U.S. Customs form 3461)
  6. Packing Lists

When these documents have been accepted by the U.S. Customs, your broker has another 10 days to submit the duties and file these additional documents:

  1. U.S. Customs Form 7501 which is an Entry Summary document
  2. Any other appropriate invoices to assist in tariff assessment.

There are 22 different types of Import to USA entries.  The most common ones are:

There are numerous major and minor Shipping to USA ports for you to choose from.  Import to USA requires that when the carrier arrives to the Port of Entry with your goods from China, the carrier needs to submit a Bill of Lading to the customs officer.  It is also known in legal jargon as "Evidence of Right to Make Entry for Importations by Common Carrier".  

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Step 2: Import to USA - Examination  & Valuation

During the valuation phase the U.S. customs officer will determine the total value of your goods imported from China. The total value is based on the actual price paid for the merchandise plus:

The U.S. customs officer will inspect your goods to ensure that they meet U.S. import regulations.  Some key things that they will check are:


Step 4: Import to USA - Payment and Liquidation

If everything goes well, all you need to do is to write the government a check and your goods are considered liquidated. You can officially take legal possession of your goods.  There is a possibility that your paperwork is incomplete or incorrect.  In that case, you will need to provide revised documents or new documents before they will accept payment and let you take the goods.

Step 3: Import to USA - Classification

The Customs Service will determine the grouping for your merchandise.  This determines the amount of duty that you have to pay.  Tax rates can be found in the U.S. Government's Harmonized Tariff Schedule.


Depending on your nature of imports, it is possible to obtain a refund for your tariffs.

Import to USA - Tariff Refunds

Import to USA Overview

Top 10 Categories for Import to USA - Import From China

According to the U.S. International Trade Commission, The U.S. imported over $300 Billion worth of goods from China in 2009.  The top 10 categories of goods imported from China into the U.S. are:

  1. Electrical machinery and equipment
  2. Power generation equipment
  3. Apparel
  4. Toys and games
  5. Furniture
  6. Iron and steel
  7. Footwear and parts thereof
  8. Plastics and articles thereof
  9. Leather and travel goods
  10. Optics and medical equipment

Some categories have Trade Restrictions which you should be aware of before taking on importing the goods from China.

Four Steps to Import to USA

Real Experiences!

Erika G.  - Import from China to USA

“Thank you for the website. It is a wonderful tool for us all. We owe our successful import business here in NY from studying the detailed and practical information on your site.”

Import to USA has been accomplished by many successful entrepreneurs in the USA.  Import to USA requires the following four steps:  Port of Entry, Examination & Valuation, Classification and Payment and Liquidation.  The detail step by step instructions are detailed further below.  Included are also descriptions of top import categories for Import to USA.

An Import to USA summary is also available to show a quick overview of How to Import Products.  You will need to learn to collaborate with
USA Customs every step of the way as well as understanding the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States.  You may be able to take advantage of the Foreign Trade Zones also called Free Trade Zones which are enclosed facilities set aside near ports of entry to allow special treatment of tariffs.

As you are learning the process of importing goods to the USA, you need to be aware of the American Business Culture. If you are on the importing side of Import to USA, you should know how foreigners stereotype Americans.  If you are on the exporting side of exporting to USA, understanding American Business Culture will improve your success.

Eventually, you may want to investigate in an overseas buying trip.  The goal is to generate a list of Easy to Import Products.  One of the import industries that an importer should pay close attention to is Fashion USA. Also look at the industries of American Shoes, American Electronics, American Toys, US Furniture, American Leather and Photography Equipment and Photographic Supplies in detail as other potential great import into USA opportunities.  There is also a growing trend of Chinese products and services such as Chinese Herbs and Acupuncture making their way into the U.S. Market.

Beware that certain items such as
Ivory are banned from being imported from China or from any other country.

International business travel can be challenging for even the most seasoned business traveler.  Be sure to understand what you need and how to plan your
US Business Travel trip abroad.