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How to Import from China into the USA
You have to do your research before you import from China into the USA. You've got to make a list of Chinese exporters or suppliers and then ask them a variety of questions to see which one would work best for your needs. You also have to find the most suitable US reseller for your product and arrange for it to be imported appropriately. There are also many procedures you have to be careful about along the way, but don't worry -- wikiHow's got everything you need to know about how to import from China into the USA.
- Choose a product you love. Passion will keep you motivated and it is contagious, so others will fall in love with your product more readily, when they can see your passion for it.
- Think about the shipping costs. Products, which can be shipped in large quantities, can be far less expensive than those that cannot. Think carefully about the size of your product and how much you can fit into one shipment.
- Consider the uniqueness of the item. When producing a product that is not very unique, you may run the risk of having someone else begin mass producing it.
- Made-in-China.com. Made-in-China.com is a directory of Chinese suppliers providing buyers with product listings, complete company information, contact details, information on the company’s culture, and factory photo tours. You can visit Made-in-China.com at http://www.made-in-china.com.
- China Yellow Pages. China Yellow Pages is an outsourcing directory containing listings of products along with provider website URL’s and contact details. You can find China Yellow Pages at http://www.chinayellowpages.org.
- China.cn. China.cn is an outsourcing directory with thousands of Chinese products, providing buyers with complete contact information for each listed supplier. The website also offers buying and selling leads, tradeshow information, and trading resources for buyers and sellers. China.cn is located at http://www.china.cn.
- Analema International. Analema International is a professional sourcing company providing buyers with services such as help identifying suitable suppliers, assistance negotiating with suppliers, and quality inspections both during manufacturing and before shipment. You can find Analema International online at http://oneinhundred.com.
- Client references. A reputable supplier should be able to provide you with client testimonials and references. Once they do, check them!
- Business licensing information. You want to be sure that any company you do business with is properly licensed and in compliance with all applicable trade laws in order to avoid future legal problems which may affect your business.
- Manufacturing and staffing information. Be sure you understand the exporter’s relationship to the manufacturer, i.e. do they manufacture the product themselves, and if not, do they get paid by the manufacturer as well, or do they only work for you?
- The name and location of the factory producing the product. If an exporter refuses to provide you with the name and address of the factory where the product is manufactured, they may not be a reputable supplier.
- Information regarding the experience of the factory in producing your particular product. Cost is not the only the consideration when choosing a supplier, quality may be just as important, and the manufacturer’s experience can be a good indication of the quality of work.
- Samples of the product. Unless you will be manufacturing your own new product, the supplier should be able to provide you with samples of the product so that you can get a better idea of the quality and know ahead of time exactly what you are paying for.
- The focus is on relationships. Chinese do not do business with companies, they do business with people, and each business deal creates a new relationship with the other party. Chinese exporters are therefore not likely to jump into a deal until they have had the opportunity to get to know you a little.
- Reliance is on moral influence, not legal practice. Chinese executives tend to rely more on a party’s moral obligation, rather than its legal one. This does not mean you should ignore the wise business practice of having a signed contract, but you should let your desire to get a signature on a contract take a back seat to building a trusting relationship where each party will feel morally obligated to perform, even if they did not have a signed contract.
- Hierarchy is important. Shaking the hand of a low ranking executive first or calling a high-ranking executive by his first name can jeopardize interpersonal relationships and affect a Chinese executive’s willingness to negotiate. Pay close attention to how executives address each other and follow their lead.
- Contact each potential reseller by telephone and introduce yourself and your company to the decision maker. Ask if they would like to receive some information via e-mail and verify their email address.
- Send a brief e-mail with a professionally designed attachment, which describes your company and your product.
- Follow up with a phone call a few days after the e-mail and ask for a meeting. At the meeting, sell your product and get a signed contract so you can begin
- Express Mail Service (“EMS”). EMS is a worldwide shipping service that works with the United States Post Office (“USPS”) to deliver goods from various countries to the United States.
- DHL International (“DHL”). DHL is a global shipping company providing shipping services commonly used by Chinese suppliers to ship goods to the Unites States.
- Free On Board (“FOB”). FOB is used for freight shipping, in conjunction with a port of loading. This means that the seller is responsible for paying transportation costs of the goods to the indicated port of loading, or shipment, as well as loading costs. The buyer is then responsible for paying the costs of transport, insurance, unloading, and transportation from the arrival port. In this type of agreement the buyer owns the goods as soon as they leave the port of shipping.
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