Import from China: basic steps

The activity of loading and unloading of huge container in China – YIWU.

When you start importing from China sometimes it is not clear what are the steps we must take to complete the process with a minimum guarantee of success. We will try to summarize in this article the work to be done to get a good import.

Pay due attention to each of them, errors in any of the steps can end the success of the operation.



  1. Define the product to be imported: this is a fundamental issue that often fails. If all the characteristics of the product are defined from the beginning, the rest of the process is much simpler and more likely to succeed.
  2. Check if some type of certification is necessary or if we must meet a specific requirement for the import. To give an example, there are many products that for import into the European Union must meet certain certifications: electrical appliances, toys, … In other cases, such as medical products, must have a specific import license. The rules change from one country to another.
  3. Search Chinese suppliers: With the defined product, we look for possible manufacturers that meet the necessary quality certifications. The first contacts are made and quotes are requested. If possible, samples of the product to be imported should be requested in order to make the choice of the supplier.
  4. Calculate the total cost of the import: with the prices of the possible suppliers we must estimate the total cost of the import. It is not profitable to import any product. Sometimes high tariffs, anti-dumping measures or transportation makes the operation little or nothing profitable. If you are not able to get a substantial margin, it is better to abandon the operation.
  5. Negotiate the final conditions: if you have decided to complete the import process from China you must define all the conditions of the deal. Pay special attention to the incoterm agreed with your Chinese supplier, it depends on many costs and risks. Of course, confirm that the Chinese manufacturer meets all the requirements set in the technical specifications and has the certifications, if necessary. And finally agree on the payment method of the operation.
  6. Confirm your order: when you successfully complete the negotiation with your supplier make the order confirmation.
  7. Transportation: The easiest way to manage transportation from China is by hiring the services of a freight forwarder. This company will be responsible for both the transport of goods and the management of customs.
  8. Inspect the product: We recommend always carrying out an inspection of the product before accepting the delivery. Please note that if you have purchased FOB, the incoterm that we recommend to our customers, you are acquiring the goods in a Chinese port. To be delivered, you must complete the payment. Therefore, you (or someone hired by you) should see the merchandise before accepting it and paying it.

From this point, have patience. IF product will arrive safely to Europe or America.

Of course, no two operations are the same, other additional steps must also be carried out, such as factory inspections, product analysis or others, but these are the basic steps to import from China.

MUTUAL – Your Business office in China