The Ultimate Guide to Importing from China and other Asian Countries

Neil Updated by Neil

If you ever get a chance to ask the 115,000 companies that have imported from Asia to North America in the year 2016, one can easily make out that importing from Asia can be a productive endeavour.  There are obvious reasons for it; it offers a better option of getting cheaper and quality products. The fact that goods worth 934,654.1 million dollars were imported in totality from Asia to USA in the year 2020 is witness to the fact.

But the primary question here is, where do you begin?


Right here!


From the experiences and insights gathered after reviewing several industry experts, we created this ultimate guide to importing from China to help you do it right the first time.

The guide gives you the much-needed information and gives you confidence by giving you the extra push to get started.

Have a look!


Identify the goods you plan on importing

When it comes to the world of importing, one can be extraordinarily creative and strive towards achieving everything they want; as the famous saying goes, “the world is your oyster.” However, it has both pros and cons.

One can resort to several ways to go about it

  • Travel to the place and do the necessary groundwork.
  • Hunt or look for products in the online forum
  • Attend shows and events related to trade

Expert Tip: A small and light commodity makes the ideal good for importing. This will help you save money on importing, storage, and shipping it to the consumer.


Make sure that there are no barriers to importing

There are several barriers that one needs to keep in mind and avoid when considering a product for import. These barriers are failing to comply with North American safety standards, high customs duties, or carrier restrictions.

The numbers of products coming from Asia that are prevented entry into the North America by the customs is extremely surprising.

To avoid being in this situation, it is important to make sure that the product conforms to North American safety standards and labelling requirements early on.


Technical Compliance/Chemical Regulations

Be thorough with the rules and regulations of agencies like CPSC, ASTM, and UL. Form a proper concept as to how your product can be injurious to your consumer with improper use. Check whether the product design is cooperative with the purchasing an ASTM standard file that lists technical requirements.

Insert a clause in your purchase contract that states that the product must comply with specific standards.

Labels. Test report templates of agencies such as CPC, GCC can be bought online. Print, sign, scan and archive them for at least ten years.

Lab Testing Only if relevant, submit samples for testing to a CPSC accredited compliance testing company. The proof of compliance will reach you within a week.


Locate a trustable supplier or manufacturer in Asia

Once you have finalized a product, your next task is to find a suitable supplier. While Alibaba is the go-to supplier marketplace for the majority of the importers, it should also be noted that there are a lot of various other alternatives. These alternatives can be found in google search.

Also, note that a supplier that you may come across on Alibaba is usually not the company’s owner. Instead, they are the wholesaler or trading company.

Expert tip: ‘Paper trick’ will help you determine whether your sales rep has a direct link to the factory. In a situation where you want to see what the factory’s production facilities look like, ask the supplier to click some pictures along with a piece of paper with your name and data were written down.

It is always advisable and important to draft a legal contract when importing from any country and not just from Asia to the North America. These contracts commonly referred to as a purchase agreement, manufacturing contract, purchase contract, sales contract, or supplier agreement are usually valid for several years. With respect to Asia, work with a lawyer specializing in Asian business law.

Alas, most small importers don’t bother. In fact, many don’t even publish a purchase order, solely relying on the supplier’s purchase invoice

You may get away without receiving either a purchasing agreement or a commercial invoice, since most Asian vendors tend to settle problems and maintain their integrity. But, it’s not at all recommended and you absolutely must acquire a formal legal contract if you are planning on buying a substantial amount from the supplier over time.



As intimidating as it may seem, importing from China is an easy process with the right tools. Read through the entire article to understand the nuances of the industry and become a pro!

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