Fall September Special
eCommerce Blog / Shipping to the UK and Europe from China

Shipping to the UK and Europe from China

The costs and logistics of shipping from China to the UK can be intimidating for inexperienced importers who don’t know what to expect. The wide variety of shipping rates just adds to the confusion - it’s very difficult to tell what ‘reasonable’ costs actually are.

The first thing any new importer needs to do is make some inquiries. Don’t forget to shop around for shipping rates before selecting a wholesaler.

I also recommend finding out the following details when you are arranging shipping:

  • Is there an inland freight charge to get to from the wholesale warehouse to port?
  • Is there a duty payable on the product?
  • Are there any restrictions on bringing this product to the UK?
  • Request the tariff number from the shipping agent.
  • Ask the shipping agent to quote you on the shipping cost, including any clearance document costs.
  • How are you going to pick up the stock once it arrives? How much will this cost?

My tips to NZ and Australian importers apply here as well: make an effort to bargain with the wholesaler over shipping costs. If they seem unwilling, tell them that you are shopping around to find the best deal!

After you have been trading with the wholesaler and/or shipper successfully for some time, inquire about lower rates for frequent customers. Most won’t offer if you don’t ask.

And another thing: everything imported into the UK from outside the EU is subject to VAT of 17.5%. This applies to everyone, not just VAT registered companies.

If you aren’t VAT registered, you will have to get a PSEUDO TURN number. Your goods won't get clearance without one.

I think that the most useful site for finding information on this topic is HM Revenue and Customs http://www.hmrc.gov.uk. Download the PDF’s ‘Introduction to Import and Export’ and ‘Guide to Importing and Exporting: Breaking down the Barriers’, these should cover most of what you need to know.

Let us know if you have any questions at all!



Comments (1)

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Chris lowdon on 8:04 3 Sep
Glad that i read this, i signed with china vasion and have listed (not made public yet though) about 25 products because they have advertised on there site "the best thing is are products have no value tax added" so i think i need to check this out as ive added shipping costs to the cost of the product and given free shipping to customers, then ive added a percentage as profit then taking away a percentage needed to cover merchant fees. If i then have to pay tax on those items i'd be running at a big loss, also if i charged tax to the customer on top of what i already charge them id be selling probably at 17.5% more than anyone else. Also need to check to see if there are import fees because if so my customers (when i launch) then have to pay this on top i'm never going to sell anything. Going to try and have a chat with chinavasion and going to get in touch with Business Link to make sure i get started right, never know what little tips and tricks they have to get around charges


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