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3 Major Pitfalls to Avoid When Importing from China to the US

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Import from Us to China

3 Major Pitfalls to Avoid When Importing from China to the US

Global shipping

Hagar Valiano Rips

CEO @ Ladingo

What does the US import from China? What doesn’t it?! Americans love importing goods from China – the products are cheap, the quality is standard, and the Chinese industrial market is ever-productive. In fact, 30-50% of the sellers in the large marketplaces in the US, including Amazon, eBay, and Walmart, are either Chinese or Americans that import from China.  However, the process of importing goods from China can be complex. Here are three major pitfalls you most certainly must avoid:

#1 – Choose the right vendors

When it comes to US imports from China, it is essential that you compare similar products from different manufacturers or vendors, before making any purchase to secure the best quality items, for the best possible price. Start off by sourcing multiple products on websites, like Alibaba, contact the vendors directly to obtain quotes, and create a list of like products to enable optimal comparison. Alibaba is a great tool for import. We recommend always checking the Trade Assurance and Verified Supplier boxes to protect yourself from choosing an unreliable vendor. You can also try, and others that can provide you with a similar service. The same goes for selecting your China to US shipping carriers. Study up on exactly the services each carrier supplies, to make sure your purchases make it safely to your destination, as quickly, seamlessly and affordably as possible. Skip this step and you run the risk of importing phones from China to Kenya, waiting an unreasonable amount of time for your shipments, or receiving the wrong or faulty items altogether (The language gaps are pretty big and due to the mistakes that can happen in packaging, shipping, and more, when urgency comes into play).

#2 – Trying To Work Around “Extra Costs” – Importing Fees, Taxes & Duties

Trying to figure out how to import goods from China and enjoy the best value for money? It’s natural to want to pay the least amount of money possible to get your goods shipped from China to the US – and through customs. But engaging in common practices, such as purposefully undervaluing your products or classifying certain items as others to avoid having to pay or reduce import fees and taxes, can cost you a pretty penny in the long-run. When importing items from China to the US, always have the following documentation in order and on the up-and-up:

  • US Customs Invoice
  • Commercial Invoice
  • Packing list
  • Bill of Lading/Airways Bill
  • Arrival notice
  • Special permits


Filling them wrong or fall prey to the temptation to fudge these documents, and you may find yourself paying even more in the form of charges you didn’t plan on paying. You could also be penalized by means of long processing delays, or be banned from importing from China to the US altogether. If you want as close an estimate as possible of what you’ll likely have to pay in taxes, research import tax from China to USA 2019 ahead of your next purchase.


Most shipping vendors will give you shipping rates or even offer shipping comparisons. Some tools will offer help with the classification of your products – but none of these tools can actually commit to the final and fully- landed rate. The only tool  that offers the full shipping rate with all applicable taxes and duties, and all door-to-door costs, is Ladingo. With it way you are not taking any risks on hidden charges. 

#3 – Not Knowing your Cargo


Guessing can cost you a lot of money. When you ship your goods from China, you should understand exactly what the measurements are and how the exact type of packaging. It is a crate, is it palletized, or is it just boxes? This can affect the costs of unloading in the port of arrival, the fuel surcharges, and even the number of people who need to take part in the home delivery. For example, when it’s a small item, one worker can deliver the package to the door, but when it’s a refrigerator or a pallet, a forklift may be needed, along with two workers to do the job. This can cause unexpected extra charges.  When you provide data to the shipping vendor, the data should be as accurate as possible. It’s imperative that the shipping tool/vendor you use knows the exact packing habits of the supplier. 


Need help streamlining your China to US shipments?

Ladingo’s FREE complete logistics solution makes it easy, affordable, and risk-free, to import and export LCLs and large and bulky shipments from China to the US, so you can avoid these three major pitfalls, start importing from China seamlessly, and scale. Click here to learn more.

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