How Do I Import Products from China in Bulk?

China is a manufacturing superpower in today’s economy. A significant portion of the world’s consumer products is made here, which means knowing how to import goods is a critical skill for modern business.
Although anyone can buy goods and have them shipped, a business earns a profit by working in bulk and economies of scale. You also have transit times, customs concerns, and distribution logistics to manage when importing items from China.
If you’re interested in starting or expanding business opportunities in this area, here are the general steps to follow to begin importing products. Each situation is different, so always check with your local customs authority and source from engaged and trustworthy suppliers.
1. Understand Your Import Rights

You or your business becomes an importer when purchasing goods from a foreign source. If the items are for personal use or hold minimal value, a courier can deliver the items to your address directly.

Before purchasing commercial goods, you’ll need to complete these additional steps for a successful transaction.

  • American businesses must have an EIN or SSN supplied to complete some transactions.
  • Companies in the UK need to have an EORI number.
  • The Canada Revenue Agency requires importers to obtain a business number before completing an order.
  • In Japan, anyone who wants to import goods must declare them to customs and obtain a permit after examining the items.

Import regulations can change at any time. It is up to the inspecting authority to determine if the item is personal or commercial. If you’re thinking about starting a business by importing products from China in bulk, it’s better to comply with the rules.

2. Identify What You Want to Import

Your clothing brand and business back the products you import. That means you need to choose items that can be made to a high standard with ongoing consistency. The items you select are the foundation of your company.

When working with a clothing supplier to import products from China in bulk, it helps to follow three principles to create a successful outcome.

  • Choose products that you enjoy using or are passionate about to communicate your love for the items to each potential customer.
  • Find something unique to your marketplace and is sellable at a high price.
  • Select items that can be shipped in large quantities to lower your per-unit costs.

Instead of following trends or looking for cheap items, find something that speaks to your customers’ pain points. Be willing to launch it, then keep growing.

3. Find Out If You Can Import the Items

Some goods are not permitted for import in all countries. The list of what you can or cannot choose is different based on your location.

Other items require permits to import. You might have regulations or restrictions to follow when importing from China.

Although what is or isn’t allowed can change, the following items are avoided by most companies because of the logistics challenges they require.

  • Food products, including meat, cheese, eggs, milk, and poultry.
  • Fireworks and explosives.
  • Flammable fabrics.
  • Plants, seeds, or plant products.
  • Certain precious metals, such as gold or silver.

There could be fines or penalties when imported items don’t meet your country’s health code requirements or violate restrictions. It’s also possible for customs to detain or destroy the goods.

4. Classify Items and Calculate Landed Cost

The ten-digit tariff classification number and Certificate of Origin determine the rate of duty businesses pay when importing products from China. You’ll need to find this information to do your land cost calculation.

You’ll want to get the supplier’s product price, shipping charges from the freight agent, and additional costs for tax, customs clearance, land transport, and final-mile logistics.

Accurate cost estimates ensure that you can price the items for sale at a point where local customers can support your business.

5. Find Your Clothing Supplier and Place the Order

Once you have selected the clothing supplier for your import needs, you’ll want to request a quote sheet or a PI (pro forma invoice) for the prospective order. The information should include product descriptions, value per item, and other important information. If you plan to have items shipped by sea instead of air, it helps to have a 90-day lead time. [[1]]

Importing products from China can open new doors for your clothing brand and business. If you get started today, your company can start getting closer to its mission, vision, and values while effectively serving customers.

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