How to Import Goods from Overseas?

Global shipping
ship from china to US

The Ladingo Team 

How to Import Goods from Overseas?

Importing goods from countries around the world has proven to be a good business practice for brands seeking to acquire quality items for a cheaper price. Importing from China is particularly popular. What do we import from China? What don’t we! Imports from China span everyday items such as shoes, clothing and technological devices, as well as large ticket items, such as furniture. The US even imports pork from China!

That being said, the process of importing foods from China to the USA can be a highly involved process, in terms of time, money and resources. Long transit times, fluctuating delivery costs and fulfillment times, unexpected delays and other red herrings can most certainly detract from the cross-border shipping allure. That’s why today, we’re lifting the veil on importing goods from overseas and promise to go over everything you need to know.

Step 1 – Determine what you want to ship 

Choosing the right products can make all the difference between saving on time and money and making sales, versus wasting time and money and potentially losing sales. Do your research about which products will benefit your business, how much they cost locally versus overseas, and how they compare quality-wise to products made in the USA, or other international destinations.  Make sure you choose vendors you can trust and use tools to protect yourself like Trade Assurance. Additionally, if you can’t fly to check the goods yourself, which is probably the case during Covid-19, have someone or a company you trust check them for you. 

Step 2 – Double-check your rights

Ensure that the item you wish to import can legally be brought into the US for resale purposes. While most items will be allowed (you will likely have to pay taxes and duties, though), some items, such as agricultural products, are held to strict regulatory requirements, and others, such as counterfeit designer clothing and accessories, are banned from being exported from China altogether. You’ll also need to make sure the goods you’re shipping are allowed into the US.

Many items are allowed, but need special permits from government agencies like the FDA, EPA, and USDA. Have a customs expert with you to make sure you are covered from all angles. 

Step 3 – Select a supplier 

Compile a list of Chinese manufacturers who can supply you with your selected products, and contact them. You may wish to travel to China to meet with them in person before signing a long-term agreement. Study each supplier’s version of your desired items, to determine which will provide you with the best value for money. Avoid going with the cheapest product, if its value is just that – cheap. During Covid-19, as overseas travel is not widely available, you should use known online marketplaces like where you can get reliable information about the supplier and protect your purchase. The only trouble with these platforms is that the logistics remain complicated. 

Step 4 – Select a courier 

Research the shipping service providers who service the China to USA route. Learn how they handle the many fees involved –  container fees, packaging, terminal handling, broker fees, etc., as well as how the items will be shipped – via land, sea, or air. Select the courier that best meets your business needs. Nowadays, you can find rate comparison engines and digital forwarders, however, though all offer great solutions, you still need to have a background in logistics to utilize them properly. 

Step 5 – Clear customs

Make sure you have all the necessary paperwork filled out and in order before your shipment goes out. When shipping from China to the US, you’ll need the following documents: 

  • Bill of Lading for the carrier
  • Packing List, Commercial Invoice, and documents such as a Certificate of Origin, Product Licenses, Product Certification, etc., may be required, depending on the types of products you’re shipping.
  • Import Security filing (ISF) (if your items are being shipped by sea)
  • Customs bond

Using Ladingo eliminates the need to fill out these documents. 

Step 7 – Take possession of your shipment

Before you can take possession of your shipment, you will need to pay any pending import taxes or duties required when shipping items from China to the USA. The amount you will have to pay will be calculated according to the estimated value of your shipment (by customs officers), as well as by the shipment’s grouping on the harmonized tariff schedule. Once your payment is received, you’ll be able to arrange for last-mile delivery to your warehouse and can begin reselling to US customers. Under some shipment terms (incoterms), you pay all duties and taxes in advance, which is called DDP.  

Or, you can trust Ladingo to manage your overseas shipments, from A to Z

With Ladingo, all you need to do is sell. We’ll do the rest, using our complete logistics solution. Click here to learn more. 

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