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DHL Guide > Export to China

Export to China

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China’s unprecedented growth continues to transform the global economy: already the world’s biggest manufacturer, the country is predicted to soon become the biggest market for consumer as well as luxury goods.

The UK’s main importer, China is also a top 10 export destination for British goods; UK to China exports have almost doubled since 2009 and exceed £1 billion per month. The British Government is committed to further improving trade relations with China and supports an EU-China free trade agreement.

Sources: GOV.UK, McKinsey Global Institute

For more detailed information when trading with China, download our China Fact Sheet.

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China Fact Sheet (4 MB)

Read more detailed
information about China

DHL Facts

Locations: 495

Gateways into the Country: 10

Number of Service Centres: 131

DHL Delivery Zone: 8

Vehicle Fleet: 1819

China: Country Profile
Capital: Beijing EXPORTS FROM CHINA
Population: 1.3 billion Exports from
China:
US$ 1.971 trillion (2012 est.)
Area: 9,596,961 sq km Export Commodities: Electrical and other machinery, including data processing equipment, apparel, radio telephone handsets, textiles, integrated circuits.
Currency: 1 yuan/renminbi (CNY) = 10 jiao = 100 fen Top Export Destinations: USA, Germany, Japan, Netherlands, India, UK, Hong Kong
GDP: US$ 12.26 trillion (2012 est.) IMPORTS INTO CHINA
Time Zones: UTC +8; no summertime observed Imports into
China:
US$ 1.653 trillion (2012 est.)
Languages: Standard Chinese or Mandarin (Putonghua, based on the Beijing dialect), Yue (Cantonese), Wu (Shanghainese), Minbei (Fuzhou), Minnan (Hokkien-Taiwanese), Xiang, Gan, Hakka dialects, minority languages Import Commodities: Electrical and other machinery, oil and mineral fuels, optical and medical equipment, metal ores, motor vehicles.
Ethnic Groups: Han Chinese 91.5%, Zhuang, Manchu, Hui, Miao, Uighur, Tujia, Yi, Mongol, Tibetan, Buyi, Dong, Yao, Korean, other nationalities 8.5% Top Import Origins: Germany, USA, Hong Kong, Italy, South Korea, Japan, Singapore.
Transit Times
The times provided for
dutiable shipments
are based on the time
expected for Customs
in China to clear
the shipment. This is
contingent upon the
value of the shipment.
Destination Non-Dutiable Shipment Dutiable Shipment
Beijing 3 days 5 days
Shanghai 3 days 5 days
Tianjin 4 days 6 days
Shenyang 4 days 6 days
Wuhan 4 days 6 days
  • Further Information

    DHL can assist you with trading with China. Contact the DHL team on 0844 248 0675

    DHL Customer Services is also available on 0844 248 0844

    Calls to DHL UK phone numbers beginning ‘084’ cost 7 pence per minute, plus your phone company’s

  • Duty Free Allowance

    CNY 50. If calculated duty/tax is under CNY 50 then the shipment is classed as duty free.

Essential Customs Information

For an estimate of landed costs (duties, taxes and other import fees) for shipments going to China use the free and interactive DHL Express Trade Automation Services (TAS) tool, tas.dhl.com. TAS also provides information on regulations compliance and trade documentation.
Attorney (POA) for all non-document goods except personal effects, regardless of value. 

Shipping paperwork – Waybills, labels and invoices must include: sender and receiver details (including the receiver’s CR); goods’ quantity, value and full description; clearly shown Commodity Codes; and a typed invoice with no manual changes. Handwritten invoices are only accepted for personal effects. 

A packing list is required if: the shipment value (CIF) exceeds CNY 5,000; the shipment weighs over 100 kg; the shipment includes more than two items; or the shipment is subject to import licences. 

Non-document goods subject to import licences will be cleared as a formal entry. The receiver is responsible for applying for and providing the licence. 

Wood packaging must have an Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control (IPPC) sign. 

Certain items require an import licence from the China Entry-Exit Inspection and Quarantine Bureau (CIQ). 

For ATA carnet shipments, state ‘ATA CARNET’ clearly on the Waybill or label and invoice.

  Only documents, certificates, bills, and similar materials that do not have a commercial value may be shipped as documents. Customs may ask for a document shipment to be cleared as a goods shipment, especially if it weighs over 5 kg. 


Prohibited items specific to China:

The list below is in addition to DHL’s standard list of prohibited items.

  • Animal skins
  • Antiques
  • Asbestos
  • Biological substances Category B, UN3373
  • Dangerous goods, hazardous or combustible materials
  • Firearms, or parts of
  • Furs
  • Items that could be used as weapons
  • Ivory
  • Jewellery
  • Military equipment
  • Perishables
  • Precious metals & stones

Restricted items specific to China:

Advertising brochures or pamphlets and non-advertising booklets or brochures 
Send as goods if quantity exceeds 100 items. Shipment needs to go through formal clearance. 


Alcoholic beverages, cosmetics, foodstuffs, grain samples, plants and plant products and seeds 
Certificate of Origin, sanitary certificate from origin country authority and import licence from CIQ required. 


Animal products
Certificate of Origin, veterinary certificate from origin country authority and import licence from CIQ required.  


Books (hardback or paperback) for non-commercial use and publications not for public resale
Include ‘NOT FOR SALE’ or similar mark on the publications. 


CDs, diskettes & computer tapes
For computer software, clearly state the purpose of importations, e.g. commercial/research/training/company internal use. Only authorised importers holding an import licence may import audio or video products for commercial or entertainment purposes. 


Communications equipment, computer components and parts, mobile phones, mobile phone accessories & components, machine and electronic parts and telecommunications equipment 
Import licences from CIQ and the Ministry of Commerce may be required depending on the detail of information of the commodity.


Costume jewellery
Import licence from CIQ required. 


Drugs: Prescription and non-prescription
Certificate of Origin, sanitary certificate from origin country authority and import licence from State Food & Drug Administration required. 


Magazines, periodicals, journals
For commercial purposes: can only be imported by government-authorised receivers. For personal purposes: must be limited to 50 pieces or 10 sets. 


Personal effects
Limited to unaccompanied baggage or commodities and gifts sent from one private individual to another within reasonable quantity for personal use. 

B2C (e-shopping) shipments cannot be cleared as personal effects but will go through the general clearance process. 

Value limits: Shipments to or from Hong Kong: CNY 800; shipments to or from another country: CNY 1,000. Shipments exceeding the limit cannot be cleared as personal effects, except when the shipment is a non-separate single item – Customs approval is required for this. 


Personal effects: Unaccompanied baggage
Limited to shipments imported within 6 months from the entry date on passport. The passport needs to have a valid visa and entry/exit stamp by immigration. Baggage Declaration Form needs to be stamped by Border Customs. Include a full list of articles. 


Personal effects: Commodities & gifts
Copy of receiver ID, item list in detail and pro forma invoice required. 


Personal mail / private correspondence
Only permitted if the recipient is a foreign student, foreign tourist or chief representative with a non-Chinese passport. Must be sent as goods. 


Passports
Further explanation required if quantity exceeds personal usage.


Ship spares
Can only be cleared by an authorised third-party agent in the port city in which the ship is anchored. 


Medical or dental supplies & equipment, tobacco
Import licences from CIQ and the Ministry of Commerce required. 


Master tapes and video cassettes for resale
Import licences from the Ministry of Culture or State Administration of Radio Film and Television required. 

For x-ray machines, please contact DHL Customs Services before shipping.

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